Super Pants-hemmer? Not!

As of June 1st, Fruit From My Hands became established as a business.  That is, as far as the Internal Revenue is concerned.  What kind of business is it, what do I do?  Good question! I’ve listened to webinars, read blog posts, studied theories, meditated and everything else I could think of to do.  There are some very good materials out there for creative entrepreneurs who want to go into business for themselves.  I especially like the free streams from CreativeLive, but alas they never solved my major problem. What should I do?

What do I “do”?  What is my craft, what is my skill?  One of the first workshops I listened to informed me that I cannot do it all. I should define the single thing I do and do it.  This is the one step that stymies creatives, I have found.  I was frozen in place for several years on this step.  My Etsy shop has many random items with no central theme other than I had a bright idea and wanted to try them.  (I’ve been advised that is the sure sign of death for an Etsy shop but it is what it is.) The exercise from the speaker suggested looking at the past six months and decide what one “thing” had people paid me to do the most.  Okay, so I looked back over the past six months to a year.  Wow, people really love to have me hem their pants!  So, by their estimation, I should be the Pants Hemmer. Be the best pants hemmer out there, market myself as that and sleep, eat and breathe pants hemming.

Um, no.  I’m pretty sure that I will be paying the rent in the future with pants hemming and I am not opposed to doing it but I have too many skills to confine myself to one task, one skill.  While I was looking at the past six months activities, I saw so many other things that tied for second place but they did not net me a lot of money.  I’ve written articles, I’ve dabbled with an ebook, I’ve investigated my own ecourse, I’ve taught classes, I’ve advised creatives, I’ve consulted on projects.  No, I can’t be the great superhero, Pants-hemmer.

So without much fanfare, I made a command decision.  I choose to be a sewing and craft consultant.  A Jack-of-all-crafts, so to speak, that can help, advise, teach and further spread the joy that is creativity.  So whenever someone says, “Do you know anyone that does ______?” or “Is there someone that can teach me how to __________?”, my name can go in that blank.

Now to figure out how to make that into a tagline and find a market….hmmmmm.


CreativeLive – a Discovery!

Facebook finally did something right! My Facebook Newsfeed suggested I follow or “Like” the Fanpage for CreativeLive. Normally, I don’t give these suggested pages a second look, but the words “creative entrepreneur” popped out at me and I was hooked.  Have any of you looked at this site?  Their website says they are “the world’s leading online classroom for the creative entrepreneur.”  They offer FREE, yes, you saw it correctly, FREE online classes.  The classes are grouped in several different creative categories, but the topics of each are so timely.

The free classes stream online continually.  I clicked on the website to see what classes were playing at that exact moment when I found the time to listen/watch.  By clicking on the RSVP, you can get added to the class to chat along with other participants or ask the speaker questions.  The handouts and workbooks are provided FREE, if you log in.

The sessions that I have listened to so far were very good.  The speakers were very knowledgeable and personable and interesting.  I’ve listened to The Art of Selling What You Make by Tara Gentile and Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep by April Bowles-Olin Both lessons take on the hard topics and lead creatives through the process from creating to marketing both themselves and their product.  The content in these courses is well -worth their standard $49 class rate, if you miss any of the current streaming courses.

Have you checked them out?  I challenge you to listen, do the exercises and improve your creative entrepreneurship.  Let me know what you think.

Google Calendar for Creative Entrepreneurs

Being a creative entrepreneur is difficult. As artists making a business out of their art, we have several things that need our attention all at the same time.  It can be overwhelming. I have blog posts to write, social media photos to post, new patterns to design, Etsy store items to list and, oh yeah, I also have client requests to create.  One to-do list does not cover it all.  Experts advise us to be organized to be successful.  These same experts advise us to be timely and post items regularly.  They also advise us to maintain an editorial calendar for our blogs and plan our postings on all our platforms.  Suddenly, I find myself spending all my time struggling with what to do next.  Then, one morning at the day job, it hit me. Use Google Calendar which comes with every Google Mail (Gmail) account!

In my job at an academic library, I manage multiple calendars…….and by multiple, I mean 3 calendars that I manage as well as edit another dozen or so.  Those are in addition to my own 3 personal calendars.  We use Google Apps on campus, specifically Google Calendar for everything from building operating hours to meetings to campus events.  So, why not apply the tools I use for those calendars to my personal creative endeavors? And it’s free!

So here is a short tutorial on how I use Google Calendars to corral the many tasks I have on multiple to-do lists.

  1. Capture1All of my email, calendaring and documents, both personal and professional, are in Google.  I find the apps to be among the most powerful in the world.  Their integration into each other and sharing capabilities are beyond compare. All my info is stored in the Cloud and accessible across all my devices.

    From a Gmail window, the Google Calendar can be accessed by clicking on what we quilters could call the Nine Patch block located next to the gmail account name in the upper right corner.  The dark grey square of nine grey blocks is Google’s universal link to their Apps.

2.Capture2 Clicking on the Google App “nine patch” expands a drop-down menu that displays nine of the most commonly used Google Apps.  Calendar is one of these.  Clicking on Calendar will lead to the Calendar app.  The calendar that displays is referred to as “My Calendar”.  I use it for all of my appointments, events, and anything else that must not be missed. My Calendar will be my primary calendar and will always display for me.

3. I create an event by clicking on the date and time and filling in the event info.

4. Now, here is where the fun starts.  Notice that on the left pane of your screen under My calendars, there is a list of calendars.  By clicking on the down arrow (marked by the red arrow in the pic), additional calendars can be created for other things.


5.  I have a tendency to neglect blog posting so I sat down and made an editorial calendar.  (It is recommended by the experts.)  So, in Google Calendar, I clicked on the drop-down arrow and chose “Create a new calendar” which led me to this screen.


I named the calendar “Blog” and created events in it for every blogging task that I thought I needed to accomplish.  I chose “Repeat” and set up repeating events for any posts that I want to post regularly.  TipTuesday, New in the Etsy Store, and Tools are examples of regular posts.  I can quickly at any time open up the event either on a desktop or my phone and add the topic or notes for the posts.

6. I forget to manage my Etsy store items when I am focusing on blogging.  So I created another calendar and named it “Etsy”.  I filled it full of my plans for my store. I make events for the items that need to re-posted or updated or added.  (I have a tendency to upload all of my Etsy items at once which keeps them from getting noticed.) I’m using All Day events for now.  I will analyze my statistics at a later point and assign the best times during the day for those postings.

Now back to My calendars. I change the coloCapture13r setting to each of the calendars so the tasks are distinguished by from each other. Now doesn’t that look much neater? or cooler?






7. Each calendar can be shared with someone else so that I can have some assistance.  If a friend is interested in doing some blogging for me, I can share the Blog calendar with them and they never see all of my personal appointments.  At work, we collaborate and agree on a plan for upcoming events and establish themes for postings for that month.  The editorial calendar is then shared with all of the team members.  It is very helpful to have the whole team on the same writing schedule posting along the planned theme.

Share one of the calendars by clicking on the drop down arrow to the right of the name of the calendar in My calendars.  A screen similar to this will appear.  Provide the email (I believe they have to be Google mail accounts) of the person offering assistance and set the level of permissions for them.  Google will send them an email advising them of the sharing.


Tip:  I share all of my calendars with all of my email accounts so that when I have thought, I can pop open the nearest calendar window and apply whatever ideas I have.

Now I have my creative entrepreneur plan for the next couple of weeks, but I don’t have any of this shared with anyone that could help…….hmmmmm, now to find some sucker to take on the huge task of assisting me be me……..


Pillowcase Learn to Sew Class

When people find out I sew, the first thing out of their mouths is one of two things.  One response is “I have some pants that need hemming. Can I get you to do that?”  The other response is “I bought a sewing machine because I wanted to learn to sew and it is still in the box.”  Sometimes that second response will vary in that they have taken the machine out of the box but have not proceeded further.  Lately, I’ve been trying to find a profitable outlet for my sewing skills and knowledge.  I’ve been pursuing several different ideas until reading the post, The Commitment Phobic Creative, by Braid Creative & Counsulting.  They advise making a list of “all the things you can or want to do in your creative business“, then “crossing out the ones that you haven’t actually been paid for in 6 months.”  (If you wish to re-live my original drama, see my earlier post.)

So, here we are, weeks later, with list made and items crossed off and some very real soul searching.  And, as bad as I hate to admit it, EUREKA! I may have found the answer.  Fingers-crossed, hold your breath, I may have found a niche that needs me. All of my paying and non-paying interactions with folks concerning sewing have been the above two responses.  So, why not focus on that?  There must be a need, right?

A couple of ladies at church used the two responses I mentioned earlier.  So I set about to come up with a means to teach them to get that machine out of the box and conquer their fear.  I stumbled across All People Quilt’s 1-Million Pillowcase Challenge. I developed a quick little learn-to-sew class around making a pillowcase.  The goals of the class were to get participants sewing on their machine with some confidence and completing a project.  I made up silly little invitations, booked the church fellowship hall and invited six ladies.  Five of them came!  I provided assistance to those that needed their machines set up and provide fabric kits from my stash so there would be no stress if mistakes were made on their own personal fabric.  Five ladies walked out of the hall two hours later with a completed pillowcase.

You would need to ask them, but I believe from their responses after class, they enjoyed themselves.  Many of them have requested more classes.  They unanimously have requested an alterations class.  So I’ve been researching it and writing a lesson plan.  Every time I talk about what I am doing, I gain one or two more interested students.  So, here we gooooooooooo.