Friday, October 29, 2010

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Dealing With Fear

Have you ever noticed how the more you push yourself in the direction of your GRANDEST visions with your gifts and talents, the voices of self doubt, disapproval and pure fear come to the surface like NEVER before?

Here are 3 BIG mistakes to avoid when dealing with this unsavory inevitable phenomenon and tips to head it off before it has a chance to rear it's ugly head.

1. Do NOT make the mistake of feeling that you are ALL ALONE in fear and frustration. I promise you that you are NOT! Piles of books have been written on this topic and fill entire walls of book stores, which attest to the fact that millions of people experience this exact thing in their creative lives as well.

Instead of allowing yourself to feel all alone and isolated, make a full commitment right now to reach out and find a community (an online community, a local entrepreneur's group, a group you start yourself), that you can become part of, so you can receive the support you need, and also so you can provide support to others. (Learn to dance the dance of co-operation with yourself and others)

I created the Chronicles of Artnia facebook page for all of you as an online community for exactly this purpose, so please utilize it. Ask each other questions, give each other feedback, make comments about your progress and success with the action steps I give in my FREE program, talk about your greatest heights, your obstacles, set backs, frustrations, fears and anything else you feel like sharing.

I encourage you to share the highlights and the frustrations! Both are the reality of owning your own business and sharing about both, is what will help you connect with each other the most, allowing you to inspire and support each other...thus the dance that is so crucial!

2. DON'T make the common mistake of allowing OVERWHELM to take over your life! Once overwhelm creeps in, the negative voices of self doubt really begin to HAUNT!

Again, a community can help provide needed support in this area. Also, learning to swallow your pride and ask for help can assist you greatly. For many years, I had a tough time asking for help with..well...with most all challenges. I felt I always had to be the stoic one, and find a way to solve any challenges or issues that came up, on my own, without any outside help. This is costly and can also lead to feelings of isolation.

Instead, reach for the phone and call on a friend, mentor or colleague's help. Or enlist help from a referral or craigslist. When you don't ask for help, you waste precious valuable time that could have gone to family, other passions or other business endeavors.

If you feel you don't have the money to hire help, there are many opportunities for bartering and even online bartering sites that can help you find someone who is willing and excited to do so.

3. Do NOT let confusion paralyze you! If you do it's over! END OF GAME! Often we reach a point where we don't know what to do or where to go next. When we have CLARITY we avoid this costly mistake. Make to-do-lists for yourself and be clear about your goals, what you plan to accomplish for the next 5 years, 1 year, next few months & for TODAY.

If you need help with setting up goals for yourself find a professional consultant or coach who can help you break your goals down into bite sized actionable steps and set you on your path to clarity and success. It does not have to be myself, but find someone to help you right away.

When we don't know what action to take NEXT, we chose to not take any action. DON"T allow yourself to get caught in this TRAP! Clarity and the ability to break your goals down into manageable pieces is at the crux of avoiding this ooy gooy pitfall. Stay out of the muck... AND as a BIG result...fear, negative voices, and daunting thoughts are less likely to inundate your head!

When these voices or negative, unproductive thoughts do make their way into your head, have a strategy for dealing with them, instead of just answering "Ahhh, OK, I'll take one lump, no make it two!"

Remember, "You don't have to believe everything your brain tells you." And I have learned that the best way for dealing with these thoughts, is to say "Ok, thanks for your input, I appreciate it, but I am dismissing your two cents now", and let go of it. Move on and laugh about it. The more you practice this the easier it gets.

Right now, it may seem like an impossible mission to reach the point of actually laughing in the face of these voices and toxic thoughts, but you can thwart their venom with a little work and dedication!

Extra Help
Working with a somatic counselor in this area can also be very powerful, if it is something you are struggling with and really want to nip in the bud once and for all.

Mia Runanin is a local counselor here in the Bay Area who does this kind of work and I believe she does phone sessions too, for those of you outside the bay area. Or find someone in your local community, if you prefer a face to face session.

Happy Trails & DON'T FORGET to check out your Branding worksheet on the blog here.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

6 Steps to "Branding Your Biz" Exercise

Using Brand Models to Elevate Value In Your Business

1. Chose some of the brands you most admire. Ponder their perceived value, their track record, their overall vibe. Try to think of 5 and write them down on paper.
For me... I came up with Mailchimp, Mac (even though I don't own one yet. I am converting one day!), One Hot Cookie, Athleta and Gorilla Glue.

2. Now think about the emotions and feelings that are invoked in you, when you think about the five brands you chose? List them on paper by each brand.

3. How do these brands make you feel? How do you feel about yourself when you experience them? When using these brands how do you feel others perceive you?
When I use a mac, I feel extremely professional and that others perceive me as a real pro as well.

When I look at Athleta's catalog, I see healthy women as opposed to anorexic ones, and I feel part of a healthy, fit women's revolution, when I pour through the pages.

4. Now look at the website and logo of the brands you listed, are there any design or visual elements that appeal to you? Be very specific as you list these.

5. What kind of positioning do they have in the market? How are their prices positioned in the market?

When looking at Mailchimp's position, they do not make you lock into a contract, which is very appealing, for a small business. However they are not underpricing themselves.

6. Now think about how you can use "brand models" to inspire your premium brand position. What three action words, practices or insights can you immediately apply to your art or craft business?

This exercise is an altered version of an exercise provided in Marie Forleo's Online Virtual Business Master Class.

I am constantly reading business & marketing books and taking the next best class, seminar or workshop... so that I can provide the most current, cutting edge and up-to-date materials to my clients. The more I learn and know, the more I realize there still is to learn!

It is true for all of us that learning or mastering a skill like business and marketing is never done! There is always more to learn and know! Enjoy the process and let go of perfection!

Please click here to post on the facebook wall with your insights and results.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Santana & Olympic Medalist, Jonny Moseley Can Teach Us About Branding

Banding your business in an authentic and sincere manner, is the perfect way to make your potential audience fall in love with you. When you make them fall in love with you, they will want to purchase more of your work and rave to their friends & family about you.

When I was a young whipper snapper, I made my way to sunny California from the Midwest. With in the first week of my arrival, my younger cousin Melissa invited me to come work at the local golf and tennis store, where she had been working for the past year. I was thrilled! I was young, going back to college, having fun in a new and magical place(near the OCEAN) and now working part time at a job that put me in touch with many celebrities on a regular basis, such as Hewey Lewis, Santana and beyond.

Within my first month working there, I got the great privilege of ordering Santana's signature trademark red kangol hats for him personally...and even cooler, I got to string his tennis racket, which had a sweet spot about the size of a dime! (He was a very good tennis player!)

Another blazin' celebrity my cousin and I were proud to serve... Olympic Ski Champion, Jonny Moseley.

What does all of this have to do with business you ask???
We're gonna get to that...

My cousin is somewhat of a ravin' beauty, who resembles an Italian Movie Star. She received a lot of attention from the "male" customers, especially from Mr. Moseley, who didn't just come into our store to talk golf. He was interested in learning more about the Italian Goddess in the short tennis skirt, standing behind the "stringing machine".

Since there were several handsome young men coming in to ogle over Melissa, I had a tough time remembering who was who. However, I always remembered Jonny, because he wore a funny cap with a propeller on the top. You know, the kind that Urkel on Family Matters would wear.

While you would think that all of us would recognize Jonny from his Olympic fame, he was really not that easily recognizable in regular street clothes and lack of ski gear. But, that ridiculous hat, always gave him away! You would never expect a young Olympic Champion, who was glamorized as such a "stud" by the media, to be walking around wearing such a dorky hat. (Maybe that was part of his plan to throw people off his trail or maybe he just liked wearing the hat.)

Whatever the case, I always knew he was the one with the propeller on top of his head! I could never mistake him. Are you still wondering what all this has to do with business?

Here's the link, and If you have studied much about "branding", you might have already began to make the connection;

Johny had a trademark that set him apart from the rest, just like Santana and his red kangol hat. Both celebrities made themselves distinctive (although Jonny's may or may not have been intentional), by branding themselves with something as simple as a hat. Adding and accessory that says, "yes, it's me" and continuing to wear it excessively, is one small way of "branding". There are infinite ways to creatively deploy "branding" your business and yourself, and this is only one example, but it is an excellent one.

The more outrageous and out there your method, the more egregious you become and the more likely people are to remember you. These two examples may not fit your personality, and you may prefer a different more toned down approach, but the point is that setting yourself apart from others in your field, is a powerful way to connect with your idea customers.

The more of the amazing "you" and the more of "your incredible unique personality" you share with your audience, the more they will be inclined to connect with you and support your business by purchasing your work, staying loyal through the years and telling their friends and family about you.

The more you show your unique self, your quirkiness and even your weird habits(Well, not TOO weird), the more you will draw in the people "meant" to experience you and purchase your work.

Branding is not limited of course to one antic such as wearing a unique hat... and a hat does not need to be your antidote for branding yourself, but finding your own unique way to imprint "you" in the minds of others, is an effective and proven way to reach your target audience.

Think of what says "you" and what can really make you stand out and make you a memorable character in the minds of your target audience. And as always, it should be authentic, not contrived.

In the next post you will find an extensive awesome exercise, designed to help you come up with many ways to create your own "personal brand" in business. Then we will leave this topic and move on to "FEAR"...(overcoming it through liberation and empowering your mind to let go of those pesty, petty voices that try to tell you, you suck, you can't do it, you aren't worth it, your work's not worth it, you're going to shrivel up and die working at a crappy non-art related job, or whatever other crap your mind tries to feed you! Stayed tuned... Can't wait to see you soon!

Freea L. Sarti
Art Advocate & supporter of the "hand-made" movement!
Lovin' all the talent out there connecting with me on twitter and facebook! Will see some of you at the holidays guys and gals!

Next 50 artists/crafters to sign up for my FREE business plan on my home page will receive a bonus PDF entitled Pricing Your Art Work with Integrity! Allow a day or two for it to be delivered to your in box! Just put your name and email in the form at

I'm Too Busy For "Branding"!

I was recently asked by a potential client if the 'message” or “brand”, should be considered as important as individual sales.

First to answer the question direct on...Individual sales only hold power for us, in terms of building a sustainable business, if we have the following cornerstones built into our business.

1. A Client Contact List
2. A Communication Plan for staying in front of clients,even after a sale
3. Know, Like and Trust Factor

So in other words, if you get the sale, but you don't get the client's contact information, you don't continue to follow up and stay in front of them, notifying them of upcoming events and marketing campaigns, and you don't have an effective means of continuing to build your “know, like and trust factor” with them (which adds value to you and your work), then DEFINITELY the individual sale is NOT more important than branding! Branding is really a very authentic process of packaging what is unique about you and your art work and then selling that along with your art work or crafts. Branding ties into all aspects of our business, not just the cornerstones listed above, but also to our website, our copy writing, premium pricing, traffic leveraging, our offerings and on and on.

Branding should be something you have tons of fun with. For me, it is the aspect of the business plan that I have the most fun with. All humans love a good story, and branding has a whole lot to do with “your story”; Where you come from, where your inspiration comes from, why you do what you do, how your style evolved etc.

Branding is a paramount entity of business, especially for artists, and it is a crucial pillar that will act as a foundation in which you can build a lasting, solid, sustainable business upon. If we focus on individual sales and miss the cornerstones that make a business financially viable and able to stand the test of time, we come to a point where we become stuck and spinning our wheels. The individual sales often don't add up at the end of the year, to enough to keep us financially afloat, if we don't turn our customers into repeat customers. Branding is an important pillar of business, that allows us to build lasting clients who send their friends and family and who stay with us for life.

The artists who succeed in business and make a comfortable full time living doing what they love, are the ones who embrace the timeless principles of business and marketing. In addition, they commit to learning as much as they can in relation to art business, apply the necessary time needed to these endeavors and expand their creativity to reach all aspects of their business.

So next time you think “I'm too busy for branding”, or you question the importance of it, stop and think about the cost to you in the long run, and think clearly about what your business will look like in one year if you continue doing things without taking branding serious or the other cornerstones of business and marketing. If you will commit to learning a few tricks for leveraging your business effectively, it will make the difference in getting stuck or moving ahead in the direction of building a prosperous business, even in a tough economy.

I recently took a business class with one of my favorite consultants and I love that she reminds her clients that they are not in the business of nutrition consulting, or leather making, or law or whatever they do....”You work in the business of “marketing” if you are trying to sell your products and/or services to the public!” She reminds them. This couldn't be more true for artists.

Marry business to your art and you have the key. Even if this means pushing yourself into new territory that feels a little uncomfortable at first. Developing “your brand”, is a good starting point for emerging artists, or for those just needing to regroup. It's nice to do it right from the start, so if you ARE just starting out, commit to making “branding” part of your built in business foundation, and you will be glad you did later down the road. It will prevent you from having to back-track and start from scratch.

Stay tuned for my next post in two weeks to learn what Santana and Olympic Medalists, Johny Mosley, have to teach us about branding, as well as a worksheet for you to complete, so you can begin to develop and strengthen your own branding!

Talk to you soon,

Sign up for my FREE Program for Artists on my website home page