My week one post for t he 2013 31 Days of Blogging Challenge was becoming unwieldy, so I am beginning a new one that includes the remaining days (four through seven) of posts for week one.
Writing Prompt: What’s important to you as a business owner? Ethically and philosophically? Write a 3 Things Every Crochet Business Owner Should Know post featuring your non-negotiable.
I am a big fan of Wallace Wattles’ The Science of Getting Rich in which he outlines a spiritual way of doing business. Even though the book was written early in the 20th century, I’ve always felt his principles for doing business are still valid today.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
One of the most important of those principles for me is this:
To be successful in business, give more in USE value than you receive in CASH value.
This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but think about it. The more you, as a business owner, give superior service which exceeds how much you are paid for it, the more people are going to want to do business with you, and the more money you’ll make in the long run. It’s a win-win situation for the customers and business owner. I think I’ll go back and read The Science of Getting Rich (aff) as a reminder of how I want to conduct my crochet business.
Another business principle that must be a non-negotiable one for me is to listen to and follow my inner guidance above anything that comes to me from the outside. I get so much information each day via the Internet, particularly offers to do this or try that for my business. And in the past, I’ve often jumped on these offers primarily because of the excitement of the offerer, only to realize days or weeks later that it really wasn’t something I wanted to do. I now wait a couple of days for the excitement to wear off, then check in with my inner guidance, to determine if this is something I should do.
My third business non-negotiable, which could be seen as a corollary of the first one, is to stop chasing money. Put another way, service to my customers is my number one goal. If I provide a valuable service that my customers want/need and that will benefit them, and if I’m passionate about doing it, then I trust that the money will come.
Writing Prompt: Whom will you market to? Online? Offline? Businesses? Write a post to your ideal customer.
This is a question that I need to give serious thought to. When I first started this blog over eight years ago, it was mainly a “hobby blog,” a way for me to write about crochet as a hobby and share the projects I was working on. It’s always been “monetized” to some extent, either with Google Adsense ads or Amazon affiliate offers. But I was never serious about it as a business, and therefore never really focused on who my readers were.
Now that I’m blogging as a business, I need to hone in on who my readers and customers are and what crochet information they’re looking for. This will be a work in progress as I become clearer about who my market is, but I can say initially that I am gearing my blog posts to beginning and intermediate crocheters who want to improve their crochet skills. Even when I’m writing about a project I’ve completed, I am always teaching and like to provide information on things like:
- What I found easy about the pattern,
- How to make yarn substitutions (which I almost always do), and
- What areas of the pattern might be problematic.
This desire to teach will hold true for my blog readers, my crochet students, and the crocheters who purchase my patterns. I’m also working on how to market to this group, so that will unfold as well as the year progresses.
Writing Prompt: What specific qualities will help you succeed in business? Write a post about your strengths and skills as a crocheter and business owner.
My two greatest strengths are organization and attention to detail. If I wasn’t organized, I’d be a basket case, so it’s critical to my business success. The time-honored “to do” list is one of the main tools I use to remind me of the things I need to do. But I will probably also need an editorial calendar if I intend to be blogging more and some way to organize my social media marketing.
Attention to detail is one of the reasons my blog posts are so long. More importantly, it ensures that my blog posts and patterns are as free of grammatical and typographical errors as I can make them. It also comes in handy when I’m teaching because I can deconstruct a crochet instruction into minute steps, making it easier for students to understand and duplicate whatever it is I’m teaching.
I also have education (MS degree in linguistics) and experience (33 years in human resource training and development) that I have been able to draw upon as a writer, blogger, and teacher. I also worked for 21 years as an independent contractor which has given me some great business skills (okay, this is starting to sound like a resume ).
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been crocheting (and knitting) for over 40 years. I grew up in a generation that included a mother (taught me how to knit and sew) and an aunt (taught me how to crochet) who were steeped in fiber arts and passed that tradition to me as a child and teenager respectively.
Writing Prompt: I filed my business license and have an EIN. My next step is to ______. Share your next goal with your readers. How can they help you move forward?
My first step is to get a business license, something I’ve been putting off for far too long. It’s on my January “to do” list and should be checked off as completed by the end of the month.
After that, I really need to get cracking on redesigning my blog’s appearance and functionality so that it’s more in line with my 2013 goals. Completing my Crochet By Numbers certification is also critical because I want to start teaching it soon.
Okay, on to Week Two.