July 02, 2019
As a seasoned business owner, I have experienced just about every kind of victory, misstep, and hard-earned growth there could be on an entrepreneurial journey. These past years have been exactly what I dreamed they would be, and yet absolutely nothing like I expected all at the same time! I can’t help but look down the roads I’ve traveled and see very distinctive markers that have made all the difference in both my personal life and professional career.
The desire to share these golden truths with you is burning in my heart, in the hope that you, too, will experience the blossoming of your own dreams. Sometimes, all someone needs to start pursuing their dreams is someone to tell them that they can. And I’m here, as your guide and biggest cheerleader, to tell you that you can. You absolutely can.
After all, you are a maker.
ACKNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTAND YOUR TALENTS
How do you begin to honestly assess and understand your talents? First, I suggest taking a free, short personality test called the DISC. As the DISC personality test instructions say, answer each statement honestly and spontaneously. Sometimes choosing the statements can be tough, but make the best decision you can. When you’re done, you’ll find your DISC type. This is not for my benefit, as I receive no compensation. It’s for you: this test will help you see your strengths and characteristics laid out before your eyes.
Whether you’re a blogger, local shop owner, or have just begun to test the idea of making a living doing what you love, the first thing you must do is acknowledge your talents, and then understand them. Your greatest chances of being a successful maker lie within your wealth of self-knowledge and quiet confidence.
TAP INTO THE MAKER MOVEMENT
In recent years, something quite phenomenal has taken place. It’s lovingly referred to by some as the “Maker Movement”: creative men and women are moving in studios and storefronts, armed with their craft and a laptop. And dovetailing this, our culture has warmed to the idea that owning a unique, high-quality item handmade with love is far more fulfilling than buying a cheap item made and shipped from who knows where (for a price we’d rather not know).
As a maker, remember that your passion worth sharing. And awaiting market is ready and eager to have you!
Every one of us is capable of “making” something, of course, but a true maker carries an unshakable conviction to share their creative notions and compositions with the world. For us makers, it is an honor to make something beautiful that both fills a personal creative need and serves a vital purpose in society. The first step in serving your purpose as a creative business owner is understanding oneself.
Dear maker, you are an entrepreneur. Your unique talents are waiting to be developed. So get out there, and get started!
XOXO, Amy Howard
May 21, 2019
For creative types, hearing the words “discipline” or “structure” can make you hesitant. After all, many artistic personalities thrive in uncontrolled environments, right?
You may do some of your best creative DIY and crafting work when the mood strikes, but staying true to yourself doesn’t mean you should totally disregard organization, either. A daily agenda is a powerful tool you can use to build your creative business beyond your wildest expectations.
Here’s how to craft a daily agenda that will help you meet your goals as a Maker — and still be respectful of your creative process.
WRITE A TO-DO LIST FIRST
To create an actionable daily agenda, first, write down everything you need to accomplish for the day. Anything business-related, personal errands, big tasks, and small tasks. Once you’ve written everything down you’ll notice that your responsibilities typically fall into three categories: people, places, and priorities. Then, determine which tasks are the most important or demanding. Which ones absolutely must get done? Which will take total focus and concentration?
ASSIGN TASKS TO TIME SLOTS
You’ll then start assigning tasks to time slots. Before you start choosing tasks, be sure to start your day with a little personal time. Take fifteen minutes, half an hour, or an hour to spend time on your well-being. During this time you may choose to meditate, read, pray, journal, or exercise. Or perhaps your personal time is spent cooking a nutritious breakfast and eating it mindfully with a cup of coffee. Whatever you choose to do during your alone time, you’ll be able to tackle the rest of your day with energy and a clear mind.
Now that you have your personal time on your agenda, you can start adding tasks. Begin with your most demanding or high-priority tasks first. Studies have shown that our brain function peaks in those first hours after waking, so it’s best to get those tasks done early in the day. If you have meetings scheduled for specific hour blocks, add those in next. Then, place your more flexible tasks in spots where they make the most sense.
TWEAK YOUR DAILY AGENDA IF NEEDED
Once you have your day planned out, look it over again. Are there tasks that would fit better on a different day’s agenda? Move it to that day instead! Are you afraid you haven’t blocked out enough time for a bigger task? Shuffle things around to give yourself more time. Know your limits and accept your habits. If you know you start feeling drained around 2 to 3 pm, schedule easier tasks for that period. Pencil in a short break so you can go for a walk to re-energize. Never be afraid to be choosy with your agenda.
And of course, schedule some downtime and playtime for yourself when you need it. When you’ve already allotted time to tackle your big important tasks, you won’t feel guilty spending a little time playing creatively or relaxing. Everything is accounted for.
If you aren’t consciously choosing your steps, your steps are choosing for you. Living life without structure seems fun, but it can grow into aimlessness and boredom quickly. A daily agenda can help you live with intention, spend your time efficiently, and meet your goals. With a little discipline and self-awareness, not one hour of your day is wasted.
XO, Amy Howard
May 07, 2019
Whether you’re a day-jobber with a crafting side hustle or crafting and making is your full-time business, it can be hard to commit to doing what you love every day. But the truth is, changing jobs, coming up with a new idea for a side business, or avoiding committing to your specialty within your Maker business are all signs that you haven’t really found your strengths yet.
If we want to have successful lives, and to truly live (and work) with purpose, we have to focus on the work that makes us feel valuable and satisfied. So how do we do that?
GET HONEST WITH YOURSELF
While we talk about being honest with ourselves and acknowledging that our dreams are to be a creative entrepreneur, we often don’t share that dream or commit to it. We also don’t show the full extent of our excitement or interest in our craft. Why? Because we think it sounds silly, or because we don’t want to jinx it.
But we crave purpose, and for some of us, crafting and making is our purpose. That’s why committing to what you want to do, and getting clear on what you want to do, is the best way to build a thriving creative business and a happy life. This honesty will allow you to pursue what makes you feel most fulfilled, and that’s something that will keep you coming back day after day, year after year. But to get honest with yourself, you have to know which questions to ask.
FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS
According to Susan Sorenson, a writer for Gallup.com, “The best way for people to grow and develop is to identify how they most naturally think, feel, and behave — their talents — then build on those talents to create strengths, or the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.”
When it comes to your creative business or interests, what are your greatest strengths? Do you have a special knack for teaching people how to create their own artwork, or can you create DIY décor comparable to what’s sold in trendy boutiques? Also ask yourself: What are you more passionate about than anything else in the world? Do you get worked up talking about different paint brushes and tools, or could you talk all day about DIY products? The answers are limitless, but they’re usually the first thing that pops into your head after you ask the question, so don’t overthink it.
In these two answers lie what you need to make a truly successful Maker business that you’re fulfilled and sustained by. You don’t have to leave crafting to be a weekend hobby; it can be front and center in your life — and just think how much happier that would make you!
You can pair your strengths, those things that you’re better at than others may be, and your passions, those things you can talk about until you’re blue in the face. Once they’re paired, you have an unstoppable foundation that will help you differentiate your Maker business, as well as fuel your in the process.
So what can you do to get clear on those strengths and passions?
GET CLEAR ON WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT
Answer the questions below to get an idea of your strengths and passions, and how you can combine those to create a stronger, more successful, more fulfilling Maker business.
- What am I most gifted at?
- What about me stands out to the people around me?
- Where do I thrive that is different from most?
- What value drives me more than anything else in the world?
- What do I find myself thinking about more often than anything else?
- When I have free time, what work do I gravitate towards?
Don’t shy away from being honest with yourself about where your current position aligns with your purpose, or where you really want to be in your heart of hearts. Remember, too, that our dreams always seem bigger than we are in the beginning. The answer to all those rising fears is to start with persistent and measurable steps and to remember why you started by keeping in mind those passions and strengths you just listed.