Why I went to a 7:30 am meeting

Yesterday I agreed to attend a networking meeting hosted by a friend. When he said it was at 7:30 am, I thought he was joking. Who wants to meet new people at 7:30 in the morning? I agreed for two reasons: I wanted to support him and I backed out the last time he invited me to a networking event. (And that one was at a reasonable hour.)

I also thought I might get a free bistro-style breakfast out of it.

Now, it’s not that I’m not up at 7:30. On the day before, I had a load in the washer and had been on my knees to scrub half the grout lines in my kitchen’s ceramic tile floor by then. But I was unwashed and wearing only one of my husband’s shirts.

So at about 11 pm last night, I told myself, “I’m going, but if I hit any major hurdle, I’ll bail-out.” This removed some of the stress of picking out an outfit, getting my directions and navigating morning traffic.  If I couldn’t match up an outfit, if the closet had caused my pants to shrink again, if anything needed to be ironed, I was off the hook.

I continued that mantra as I laid out my clothes and prepared to shower this morning. I calmly checked Mapquest.com, which said it was only a 21 minute drive. “Hmm, wonder if that is what I will really find.” I headed out at about 6:55 am. As I was cruising up the tollway, I thought more about why I was risking having to deal with commuter traffic and a roomful of strangers. Was I kinda dumb, gullible, a pleaser? Would I regret using the gas and toll money? Then, suddenly my whole outlook changed.

I said to myself, “Hey, I’m up, showered, dressed, and out of the house before 7 am! My morning has tremendous possibilities. Even if I were to wipe-out in the meeting, (which I won’t) afterwards I can go find a place to write and think and plan for a few hours.

Interacting with other humans before 8 am is what super successful folks do. Hey, networking is what super successful people do. O.k., regardless of outcome, this is a worthwhile adventure. And Pastor asked us to prepare for a breakthrough this week. I suppose I should do something different to help usher that in.”

English: High Speed Business Networking Event ...

English: High Speed Business Networking Event (Paris, 2006) by JCI. Français  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, there was no free breakfast, but I connected to seven out of about 20 professionals. They are people I want to partner with, can learn from or become their customer. We will see what develops.

The Makeover

I was selected for a business women’s makeover by internationally acclaimed transformational makeover expert Eve Michaels on Thursday. The makeover included hair, make-up and an outfit. I had the opportunity to model my “after” look in front of a business crowd. I also got information on how to style myself as an artist. I was super excited for this opportunity. “What NOT to Wear” has been one of my favorite shows. I’ve learned some good general points from Stacy and Clinton. The opportunity, however, for personalized instruction from Ms. Michaels was so precious and inspiring.

Points Ms. Michael reinforced for me included:

  • jewel tones ( sapphire, jade, amethyst) look best on me
  • a supportive bra is an everyday essential
  • expensive clothes don’t have to be if you know where to shop
  • thrift store finds can be figure-flattering if you compare your measurements to those of the garment and have a neighborhood tailor

New things I learned:

  • my eye glasses are too rectangular for my face, and too narrow so that they cut my eye space (eyebrow to bottom of eye socket) in half
  • wider and rounder frames would be more attractive
  • “droopy” hair elongates my face and makes me look sad
  • more height to my hair will be more complimentary
  • a more flattering, attractive, artistic look may actually help me sell more art at better pricesIMG_2065

Perhaps the bottom line for me is, I could be doing better with my daily presentation of Kartika: the wife, mom, artist and author. Too often I rush and throw something together and skip the make-up. Years ago I had gotten my make-up application down to 7 minutes. But recently the thought came to me, why should I rush? Why shouldn’t I take 30 minutes to create the day’s look? For me the “whys” speak to some underlying issues. Had I believed I wasn’t worth the time? Had I believed it was vain to make the effort. Was I uncomfortable with “looking great” or “looking sexy”?

I’ll continue to dig into those issues. In the meantime, I’m reading Ms. Michael’s new book, Dress Code: Ending Fashion Anarchy. She has a 3 day makeover boot-camp coming up in September which I’d love to attend!

Please learn more about Eve Michaels and her life-work at her website.

www.http://evemichaels.com/

Ladies, wanna weigh in on these issues? I’d love to hear from you!

Guest Post from Alyson Stanfield

4 Moves To Ignite The Passion For Your Art Business

July 3rd, 2013

Bang! Pop! Pow!

Is that the sound of July 4th fireworks I hear? Or is your art business on fire?

I would love to hear that it’s your business – that you are Hot – Hot – Hot  for what you have to share with the world.

If you’re only hearing fireworks outside your walls and not inside your head and heart, there are four things you should do – and keep doing – to ignite the passion for your art business.

©Frances Vettergreen, One Hundred. Oil and wax on panel, 36 x 36 inches. Used with permission

©Frances Vettergreen, One Hundred. Oil and wax on panel, 36 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

1. Embrace your role as CEO.

When you decide you want to earn money as an artist, you are no longer just making art. You are building a business.

As soon as you accept your role as CEO of your art business, you will experience a dramatic shift in mindset. You will understand that your talent is bigger than you. It’s the basis for a dialogue you were intended to have with the world.

Along with this comes the responsibility of ensuring that your business is run professionally andprofitably.

What’s not to get excited about?

2. Schedule something big – with a deadline.

Everyone who owns a business needs something to look forward to. We want to experience the momentum resulting from a new venue, an open studio, or a commission.

Without events and deadlines on your calendar, you risk wasting time on Facebook or neglecting your studio work.

Don’t wait for things to happen to you. Create your own opportunities! OWN them!

3. Use your list.

You didn’t work so hard to get all of those names and let them rot in cyber-storage. Use your list!

People signed up to hear from you. If they haven’t heard from you in awhile, they’ll think one of three things:

  • You aren’t doing anything worth sharing.
  • Your business is too disorganized to get a message together.
  • You don’t care enough about them.

Or, worse, they’ll forget about you altogether.

Staying in touch with your list is a major component of your dialogue with the world.They are your community. Sharing with them and listening to their responses is rocket fuel for your art career.

Create a plan to use your list regularly and then do it!

4. Follow up with people.

Pay attention to signals. Opportunities are often abundant if you listen and act on them.

Did you catch that condition at the end of the sentence? You have to act on the opportunities.

If someone says they like your work, do you just accept the compliment and move on? Or do you ask if they’d like to be on your mailing list and receive an invitation to your next event? Or invite them to your studio to see more?

I’ll bet that lack of follow-up is one of the biggest mistakes artists make. I don’t think it’s because you are lazy or too busy.

I would guess that most artists don’t follow-up because of fear. There are fears that the opportunity will be too overwhelming, or that nothing will come of it.

Neither of these is an acceptable reason for avoiding follow-up. You might be busy right now, but you never know when the well will run dry.

And if the opportunity leads to a dead-end, so what? At least you will have taken the chance.

If you don’t follow up, you’ll always wonder, “What if . . .?” or “If only I had . . . “ Nothing takes the sizzle out of your momentum like regret.

Alyson Stanfield is an artist advocate and business mentor at ArtBizCoach.com. This article was originally published in her Art Biz Insider, which is sent weekly to thousands of artists who are elevating their businesses. Start your subscription now and read more articles like this at http://artbizcoach.com

From One Heart to Another

Vector version of Image:Color icon purple.png

Vector version of Image:Color icon purple.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know a delightful man, loquacious and sensitive. When you come into his shop be prepared to stay longer than you should, enjoying his honest and humorous pondering on life.

In a conversation about a year ago, he was telling me how much he loved purple. His business pens are purple and if he could find more supplies in his color, he would. I was just starting on my art adventure back then and I had already been visiting him for four years.

I was inspired to create something for him.  I thought about it for over 6 months. And then the vision came to me. He and his wife had just had their first child. She is an absolutely adorable angel. My vision combined the purple with being new parents. It is called New Family.

New FamilyI had enlarged it and put it in a simple, durable, black frame with a white mat for the library display. After the display, it was sitting in my living room,  just sitting. Finally I said, “I’m going to take it to him!”

When he saw it he was dumbfounded for a few seconds. Then he said it was beautiful and expressed how much he loved it and how touched he was. I asked him what he saw in it. He saw the family, exactly as I had intended! That shocked me because no one else had. Even when I  would explain it to others, the response was, “Ohhh.”

He shared with me some of the pains and joys of his life, unashamed to let tears well up in his eyes, and how at those times, creativity flows from him like a powerful salve.

Once again I was richer for having been in his presence, sharing heart to heart.

Setting up shop at the Starbucks

Well, the other day I had an incredibly productive writing session. I wrote three blog posts, posted one and began notes on a fourth (this one.)

I was at Starbucks, in a comfy, brown, leather chair, with my chai tea latte. I was there a little over two hours. My doctor didn’t want me drinking coffee and I haven’t had a Starbucks line item in the budget for a couple years. However, I have come to the realization that I, like so many other Americans, can not function efficiently without the extra help caffeine offers.

When I was working in finance, every now and then I’d hit the drive-thru for my chai.  So when it comes to sipping inside a Starbucks, I’m a novice. I always get the same thing, but since I was in no hurry, I decided to stand and study the menu. I moved up and ordered my usual – tall, chai tea latte with two extra pumps. Since I was the only order at the moment, he didn’t need to ask my name.

While machines whirled, I started to survey the scene for the best seat. There was a two seat table in the corner, but there was a guy with his laptop at the counter. I felt like I’d be too close to him and perhaps able to see his screen. Just then two ladies left an area with four leather chairs and two low tables. I slid into the farthest chair, facing the door. Soon I had my beverage and was clicking away on my iPad. 3 coffee cups

I noticed some of the people around me. There was a multi-level marketing guy talking with a new recruit. She seemed very sold on the health products for her personal consumption.  I noticed though, every time he asked about talking with other people,  she had reasons why that person wasn’t a good candidate for the supplies. He seemed patient, knowledgeable and committed.

Closer to five o’clock things picked up. A large gentleman came in and saw a buddy in line. He began to excitedly tell the smaller man how he had sold a car, his fourth. I wasn’t sure if he worked at a dealership or was some sort of a collector.

A woman walking up to order was called out to by a leather clad man seated near me. She turned, hearing her name and greeted him. He asked her professional help on a land deal he was in the middle of.

Then two adult females and two bouncy children came and sat in my other three chairs. They carried on their mundane conversation about children’s sports schedules and keeping up. Sprinkled in was admonishment to the little boy not to push the table into my shin or knock my cup over. Eventually they shuffled off to Karate class, leaving half a table of crumbs.

I learned that the local Starbucks is something like a very comfortable, small office building. Drinking coffee was secondary for just about everyone there. Business was being conducted between friends. Networking was being done between  acquaintances.  Like the receptionist in the office lobby, the baristas welcomed the workers in and sent them on their way with a smile.

I’m thinking about leasing some office space.