What to do when Oprah calls…

Breathe! Remember we all put our pants on one leg at a time – even the rich, successful and famous! Then say, “Hello.” Maybe follow it up with, “How are you today?” Whatever you do, don’t drop the phone or go running up to the first person you see screaming, “Oprah’s on the phone!!”

Seriously though, how often do you meet someone you feel is better than you – whether it’s true or not. Maybe it’s because of their financial status, brain power, natural raw talent, or some other “trait” you’ve convinced yourself makes them superior to you. We are all comprised of flesh, bone and water – roughly 60% water actually! Some of us just use our grey matter a little differently and others are simply born into money.

Our overall sense of self-worth or personal value is called our self-esteem. It’s healthy to have confidence in our own worth and abilities. But what do we do when those feelings of worthiness and contribution are low?

What You Can Do to Bolster Your Self-Esteem NOW

1. Surround yourself with people who love you.

Stop spending time with people who treat you badly. Reconnect with those who believe in you and like you (love you is even better). These people are pre-wired to help you feel better about yourself and want to see you succeed.

2. Remove negative self-talk from your vocabulary.

Why do we set the bar higher for ourselves then we would for other people, then kill ourselves trying to jump over that bar? It’s time to start believing “good enough” really is good enough and quit beating ourselves up when things aren’t perfect. Done well and with the right heart beats done to perfection every time.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others.

People don’t always tell the truth, especially on social media. On the surface, it may look like they’re doing better than you are when in reality, you are doing just as well or better! Author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in his 2017 book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are says:

“In the Facebook world, the average adult seems to be happily married, vacationing in the Caribbean, and perusing The Atlantic. In the real world, a lot of people are angry, on supermarket checkout lines, peeking at the National Inquirer, ignoring the phone calls from their spouse, whom they haven’t slept with in years.”

4. Find something you like doing and do more of it.

Maybe it’s playing or creating music, painting, sculpting, writing, spending time with your children, … whatever! Just do more of it so you can remind yourself you don’t have to be an expert at something to have fun. And fun is good for your mental health!

5. Get support if things become too much.

Many major centres have free or next-to-free programs for people to help re-establish healthy self esteem. In Toronto for example, the Health and Wellness Centre at the University of Toronto offers counselling services for low self-esteem. The Calgary Counselling Centre in Calgary has an action-oriented program to help you “create a positive, stronger sense of self and make healthier choices.” If you’re nervous about that big a step, make an appointment with your family doctor and start there. The secret is to just start doing something to make your life better.

 

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

What is Your YouTube Strategy?

If you choose to do only one thing for your business in 2018, having a YouTube strategy could result in your best Return on Investment (ROI).

ROI is all about inputs (what you invest) versus outcomes (what you get back).

If I invest $10 and get back $100, that’s excellent ROI. If I invest $100 and get back $10, I’m losing money like a sieve.

If I invest 200 hours to create a painting that I can sell for $50, I’ll starve.

But if I can duplicate and sell that painting for $50 to 100 customers, that’s $5000 and I’m making a living wage ($5000 made divided by 200 hours to create equals $25 per hour).

In today’s world, there are many places to invest your time and money. The emergence of video as an important marketing tool can’t be ignored.

Well, it can, but you won’t be as happy with your ROI.

Here are some interesting facts about YouTube:

  • YouTube gets over 30 million visitors… per day.
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!
  • Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.

See more YouTube statistics.

Depending on your audience, it’s very likely you’ll find them on YouTube. That’s why you need a YouTube strategy.

The Plan

Your plan begins with creating your own YouTube channel if you don’t already have one. Even if you do, you might want to create a new one specifically for your business.

Here is a good basic YouTube video on how to create a YouTube channel.

Here’s a more thorough explanation with screen shots in a blog for creating a YouTube channel.

Once you have a channel you need to add content.

But where do you get video content?

You can share other people’s content or you can create your own. Mostly you’ll create your own. After all, promoting you and your art is why you have a YouTube channel!

How do you create video content?

Here are seven tips to help you create good content.

  1. Most of our devices come with video cameras that are far better quality than we’ve ever had. They’re simple to use.  Editing software is widely available and easy to use.
  2. Remember to pull your devices out of your pockets and capture the moments of your life.
  3. Ask friends and family to record you at your craft, perhaps a piece of one of your music performances or you teaching a child to paint.
  4. You can make videos on how to do certain techniques that make you a better artist. If you have a trick that makes a beautiful creation, produce a video and share it with the world.
  5. Create a slide with your contact information to attach to the front and back of your video.
  6. Edit. Edit. Edit. Attention spans are shrinking daily so it’s wise to get to the point and keep it short with no unnecessary footage.  If you don’t grab your audience in the first five seconds, they’re gone. If you bore them along the way, they’re gone. We recommend one to two minute videos, and up to five minutes if they’re VERY interesting.
  7. You can even hire professionals to help you create content. (We can recommend videographers. Contact us.)

Post your videos to YouTube.

Then remember to tell people about your video using other media like your web site, Twitter, Facebook, and email.

Why do you need video content in your marketing mix?

There are at least five good reasons to use video content:

  1. Consumers want it. Remember those statistics? There is an appetite to learn using video.
  2. Connection. Arguably, video allows us to get better connected. When customers can see you, hear you and see your work, they’re more apt to trust you. And if they trust you and like you, they buy from you.
  3. Choice. That’s the new consumer desire. They want to choose how they consume their media. Some want written words, some want to hear them. Some want pictures, many want video.  By going to where your customers are, you are adding to their choice and increasing the chances they’ll choose you.
  4. Video is a unique way to promote your business. While customers are online, the majority of businesses have yet to discover the power of video. You can lead by pioneering video marketing in your category.
  5. Video is an ideal way to promote visual and performing arts, simply because… it’s visual! Event planners want to see you before they hire you. Having a presence on YouTube is vital for getting those gigs.

At S2 Seminars we are a “practice what you preach” company. We recently fired up our own YouTube channel. See our first video here.

We produced a half dozen “spots” which we will use to promote ourselves, our seminars and our other products. We plan to release them one at a time, strategically.

We will combine our YouTube strategy with our other marketing and promotions, like this blog, which is sent to Facebook and Twitter when we post. And we’re tracking it all in our marketing plan.

If you would like some help planning your YouTube strategy, contact us or attend one of our courses.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, attend our workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget.

3 Things You Can Do NOW to Make Your 2018 Resolutions Come True

Resolutions aren’t wishes. They’re commitments you choose to act on… or not.

2018 is almost here. If you’re like 41% of Americans, you’re probably already thinking about how you’ll commit to the changes you’d like to see in your life next year. Unfortunately, only 9.2% of you will feel you’re successful in accomplishing those resolutions by the end of the year. These stats were collected and published in January 2017 by Statistics Brain Research Institute, a group of people passionate about numbers. More importantly, they say:

People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

That’s all well and good, but how do you move from wanting a change to stating a resolution then making it come true?

There are three things you can do today to get going.

  1. Shout it from the rooftops! The more people you tell, the more people there are to help keep you accountable for what you’re trying to accomplish.  Just make sure you don’t accidentally commit to more resolutions than you can possibly fulfill in one year.
  2. Write it down. As simple as this sounds, it works — commitment is reinforced when you involve more of your senses. Writing is both physical (touch) and visual (sight). Read what you’ve written aloud when you’re done, and you add two more senses (sound and hearing), strengthening that commitment even further.
  3. Get help. When you don’t know how to proceed, getting help is one way to fast-track the endless hours you’ll spend searching and attempting to teach yourself the answers on the internet. It’s a wondrous place but it can also burn through your days with ease.

Make 2018 the year your resolutions come true!

Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your opinion, especially if this has worked for you in past too.


Susan Cramer is a partner in S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills. To learn more about running your small business, attend our workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget. 

Does Sending Christmas Cards to Customers Really Work?

Yes, it does… but the rewards (aka bookings and sales!) only come when you do it right.

Why bother?

Repeat business comes faster when you have relationships with your customers. One of the easiest ways to reinforce or renew relationships is by doing something personal that shows you care about them. Sending a personalized seasonal greeting can do just that. My husband has sent an annual holiday card to his 360+ customers for more than 10 years now. We track how much business results from that effort. Because he’s a renovator and his projects differ in size, the numbers vary but it’s usually 10-20 customers in the $10,000-$60,000 range. Not a bad return for a day of effort and a few hundred dollars.

Who do you send them to?

Ideally, send them to everyone who has ever been a customer. When your customer list is too large and this is unrealistic, then subset your list to just those you feel have the potential to do business with you again or can refer you to a new customer.

Electronic, hand deliver, or traditional mail?

Hand delivery can be very effective. It allows you to guarantee your message is received (you’re face to face with your customer after all!) The size of your customer list, the type of business you are in, and how much time you have will dictate if this option is feasible for you or not. My personal favourite is traditional mail. It’s so rare these days to receive a piece of mail that isn’t a bill to pay or advertising to recycle. Sending a card this way is sure to make you stand out when it’s done right.  Electronic is definitely quick and fast but chances are it’s also the easiest to overlook, delete or ignore.  It can also lack that personal touch that shows you spent time thinking  about this person – especially when it’s a mass email, post, tweet, or other message that the receiver knows went to a pile of people at the same time.

What do you say?

Start by hand signing the card. Having your printer do it takes away from the personal touch we’re after here. (It’s okay to use your computer to help print the envelope labels though.) Add a one-page letter describing something of interest to your customer. For example:

  • Major accomplishments over the last year (wrote  book, cut a new CD, created 3 new works of art – make sure you include a description of where they can buy this new item)
  • New things you tried last year that worked well (changed mediums from canvas to clay, adapted my novel to a screenplay)
  • Trend’s your seeing in your field – especially ones that will result in revenue for you (decreased size of for-business books to 3-4 hour reads, more artists moving to self-sale of their products and services via the Internet)
  • Introduce new people to your team or give a quick update on those already supporting you (“I hired a bookkeeper this past year so I can focus more on my craft.  His name is John Smith and I’m so glad he’s now part of my team.”)
  • What you have planned for the coming year – try to tie it back into the trends you said were coming in the New Year (“I am embracing the trend to sell more of my own art.  Watch for the next release of my website in March-April where you’ll be able to buy my art online at your convenience 24×7, 365 days a year.”)
  • End your letter with an ask to help you find more customers – the worst they can do is ignore your ask!  Let them know you’ve included a business card for them to share with people they know who might be interested in you.  Also include a link for where you want people to contact you online.

Before you seal the envelope, don’t forget to include the business card to go along with your ask!

When do you send them?

Right now!  We’re just a week and a bit away from Christmas.  If you want the card in the hand of your customer before the big day, you’re almost out of time.  For next year, we recommend sending the cards in the first week of December close to the 1st of the month.  This will give your customer time to not only recommend you but also buy something as a gift for someone else they know.

Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your opinion, especially if this has worked for you in past too.


Susan Cramer is a partner in S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills. To learn more about running your small business, attend our next workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget

Vow of Poverty

S Squared Wordmark Green Blue MNHave you ever noticed that your artist friends always seem to be struggling with money?

Have you ever wondered if it’s necessary?

According to the author of this article,  12 New Rules to Become Radically Successful, the myth of the starving artist goes back to Michelangelo.

“We are accustomed to a certain narrative about artists, one that indicates they are barely getting by. But Michelangelo did not suffer or starve for his work. He was a multimillionaire and successful entrepreneur, a “pivotal figure in the transition of creative geniuses from people regarded, and paid, as craftsmen to people accorded a different level of treatment and compensation,” in the words of journalist Frank Bruni.”

Why do artists cling to the poverty myth? Here are my thoughts:

  1. It’s romantic. Getting by, making do, suffering all have their “charms” but in reality, it’s stressful to not know if you can make rent next month.
  2. It’s expected. In some circles if you sell your art for decent money, you’re no more than a prostitute. Funny how everyone expects artists to work for nothing or “exposure” (People die from exposure!) but the janitor, receptionist and all other workers are paid.
  3. It’s comfortable. Success can be scary. It requires work, self-awareness and a number of other character traits. Failure is scary too. There was once a safety tip: “if nobody moves, nobody gets hurt”. If you don’t try, you’re sure not to fall. But think of what you’re missing!

If you’re an artist, struggling to sell your art, consider following S2Seminars.

S Squared Wordmark Blue Green MN

Our goal is to help visual and performing artists get paid for their work. We do that by teaching you basic business skills.

Our first workshop is February 13, 2018.

Learn  more here.