Thursday, October 24, 2013

Negative Review? How to deal with it.

Every now and then I come across a post that resonates with me. When I read this topic about negative feedback I realized it's a common problem, especially with online sites where leaving feedback is encouraged.

WeddingWire is a great resource for my button bouquets and alternative bouquets.  But they also offer tips like this one, "How to respond to a negative review."

I especially like the first one, "Never write a response while you're still upset."  Yes! Do I need to remember that! 

Come to think of it, it's good advice for other areas of my life.  Think first.  Let the first response go by without acting on it. 

Today I had the opportunity to put this advice into practice.  Someone opened a case against me on one of my sites for "item not as described."  I take great care to describe my items as accurately as possible, so this was a surprise to me.  Lo and behold, I could see there was some ambiguity in the wording. 

Before I sent off a response, I called my daughter, who also sells on the site.  This gave me a few moments to calm down and get some advice.  When I brought it back into perspective, I was able to thoughtfully respond.  The issue resolved itself quite nicely!

Check out the link with the rest of the tips on resolving a negative comment from WeddingWire:
 http://problog.weddingwire.com/index.php/newlywed-reviews/how-to-respond-to-a-negative-review/

Become a follower and receive all of my posts!

Angela

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's your Creative Process?

Do you jump right into your new creations?  Or do you savor the moment when you begin?  Or maybe you avoid starting a new project, studiously working on any number of legitimate busywork to put it off. 

Everyone has a different process.  Do your ideas come fully formed?  Sometimes mine do, but mostly with my custom orders it is a building process.

I often put off a project and then feel badly that I've mismanaged my time or berate myself for procrastinating.

 A friend recently told me that perhaps it wasn't procrastination that prevented me from starting a new project but germination. Maybe the wheels of creativity are churning in my head while I am doing something unrelated. 

Once I begin, like to work quickly.  Custom creating is a good learning tool for patience!  My work, like most custom creations, cannot be rushed. 

My little fingers can only go so fast! My creations build on themselves so I'm pondering, trying, thinking. And that takes time. I begin with the bones, the main flowers or ideas that the bride gives me.

Then I begin the process of adding, subtracting, moving and growing the creation until I am satisfied with it.  Sometimes I have to walk away; I've hit a wall.  Off I go to do something else, totally unrelated.  Come back fresh.

Most recently I've discovered that sometimes I just have to move confidently in the direction my creativity wants to take and stop second guessing myself.  I want to make my brides happy so in the back of my mind, I am always thinking, "Will she like it? Or would she rather have this? Or this? Or that?"  Until I am frozen. 

STOP!  Now start with confidence and boldness.  MOVE forward!  GO! 

And I do, and it does and a beautifully finished product appears. 

What's your process?
My button bouquet stems. As part of my process, I send brides a few stems to confirm the selection.

angelasartistic.etsy.com




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How Successful Small Businesses Use Twitter – Part 2

 I found some good tips from an unlikely source - Stamps.com.  This is my go-to place for shipping information. 

Check out the section on suggested topics! I think I spend too much time self-promoting.  Is that possible?  Yes!  People want to see the human side of you too!

How Successful Small Businesses Use Twitter – Part 2

Enjoy!

Angela
angelasartistic.etsy.com
angelasartistic@etsy.com

Monday, August 26, 2013

Angela's Artistic Designs: 3 lessons I learned about building a business

Angela's Artistic Designs: 3 lessons I learned about building a business: I'm learning, in my mid-50's, that everything is a process. I knew that intellectually all of my life, but NOW I am really getting...

3 lessons I learned about building a business

I'm learning, in my mid-50's, that everything is a process.

I knew that intellectually all of my life, but NOW I am really getting it!  Since beginning my business, Angela's Artistic Bouquets, I have had to face the reality of process.  It hasn't been easy for me.  I am an impatient person.  Like many people, I want to see results now!

We frequently hear, "Practice makes perfect!"  So we KNOW that is true.  However, in the space between that statement and someone performing in concert, lies the process.

Losing weight is a process. We can only do this one pound at a time.  Learning a new skill is a step by step process. We cannot be a concert pianist without first seeing the music, breaking it down measure by measure and practicing it.

You start out with your goal or dream, stuttering, staggering, pushing, hoping, trying.  Your guitar playing doesn't sound too good.  Your art doesn't look too good.  Perhaps your flowers droop and you wonder how to make them stand up. 

My art professor said, "What does this work of art need?"  Art, in all of its forms, is a process. 

The process is different for each of us.  If you're spatial, like me, you'll start at the top seeing the big picture and need to work your way backwards to know where and how to begin, to fill in the details. 

If you're detail-oriented, you may see only what's in front of you and not get the bigger picture, the goals, the final product.   

In business, you need both - you need to imagine the bigger picture.  For me, that means staying focused on building my business.  But how do I do that?  Day by day, building my fan base, my network, link to brides, event planners, sharing photos of my bouquets.

And each time I create a bouquet, particularly a new, custom made design that I haven't created before, it is a process.  I must patiently build the bouquet one idea at a time, sometimes letting it rest while I germinate and returning to it for the next step. 

Even creating a bouquet I've done dozens of times is a process.  It cannot be accomplished if I skip a step!  

Not every process in life reveals itself immediately.  Sometimes we don't see the results for a long time.  Building a business is like that.

So my lessons are: Don't expect immediate results, be patient with myself and learn to LOVE the process!

Angela DiCicco
Angela's Artistic Bouquets


Friday, August 2, 2013

Creating custom orders - does it stress you out?

When you take an order, do you worry that it doesn't look exactly the same as the photo on your website?  Even given the variable that each piece is handmade, I fretted about making my bouquets match the photos as closely as I could.

I would be so stressed about recreating an exact replica and worried that brides would look at it and say, "This special button is missing." or "This button is in a different place than the one in the photo."  I used to stress about this all the time.  Can I get it to look exactly like the photo?

Then I discovered something!

Bride's don't usually look as closely at my designs as I do!  They are looking at the bouquet in its entirety, not breaking it down one by one as I do when I create it.

Brides ask me to tweek my bouquets all the time.  It's taken me a while to figure out how to give them what they want while keeping the integrity of the piece.  

Part of my business is also working with all budgets.  Not every bride can afford the most expensive bouquets I create.  So I've learned to be innovative when a bride asks for one of the expensive bouquets on a smaller budget.  

What I've learned to do is look at the piece I am using as my inspiration and decide what the essence of that piece is.

For example, with this bouquet:
What is the quality of this button bouquet? It's vintage-style. It is very soft and romantic. What are the special elements in this bouquet? Lace, roses, creamy color.  I take that information and put those qualities into the custom bouquet that my bride has requested. 

Here's another example. A bride wanted this glamorous bouquet but didn't have the budget for it. I asked her what she liked about it and she said it was the bling. Many of the buttons in this one are expensive swarovski crystals.  Using this bouquet as my inspiration, I took the spirit of it - it's a white button bouquet with a lot of bling - and recreated it in her budget using elements that looked expensive, that glittered and shimmered and shone.  I sent her a photo of it and she is happy with it!



I don't stress about getting it exactly like the photo as long as my design closely resembles the feeling of the bouquet and the major items in it.   In short, I've learned how to give the customer what they want!

This has helped lower my stress level tremendously!  I hope it can help you too when asked to do a custom order for your customers.

Angela
https://www.etsy.com/shop/AngelasArtistic



Monday, June 24, 2013

Need to Write a Business Contract?

My last post included tips on what to know before you sign a contract.  This post is for you if you need to write a business contract.

We are in business and sometimes that requires us to have agreements in writing.  My son's catering company uses contracts as a regular part of his business.  They spell out to the bridal couple what they can expect from him as a caterer in return for their deposit and final payment.

It's important that the contract you are writing for your business protect you.  It should indicate exactly what you are offering in return for your goods and what your terms of service are. 

Will there be a refund for cancelled events? 
Will you keep deposit monies? 
If you make a custom made item, do you offer returns?  
What are the consequences for breach of contract?

Be as specific as possible including dates, names, times.  Leave little to chance or ambivalence.  Contracts are to CYA!  Think of possible scenarios that may play out.  What are possible outcomes that may arise? 

Adding dates is important, however, make sure that they are accurate, current and realistic.  A wrong date put on a contract or a promise that something will be delivered within a time frame when it isn't can lead to more headaches that you want to deal with.

Check out the 2 sites below are 2 sites for more information writing a business contract.

http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-contracts-forms/how-to-write-a-business-contract.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Business-Contract

Angela DiCicco

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 Things to know BEFORE signing a contract

If you've recently entered into the world of contracts, there are a few important things you should know. Contracts are agreements between 2 parties.  Business to business, business to individual, individual to individual.  We enter into contracts regularly when we purchase a home, have air conditioning installed by a professional, hire an exterminator.  Businesses enter into them when they hire themselves out to clients or when they have business with another company.

The following are tips that I have learned to protect myself.  They are to protect YOU when you are not the initiator of the contract.

1. Most importantly, when someone hands you a contract to sign, they are more than likely protecting themselves.  You need to add language or have a separate contract to protect yourself.

2. READ the contract.  Yes, read all the fine print and dull, confusing language.  It's there for a reason.  And it's probably not to protect you, but to protect the interests of the company.  (When I went skiing, I was asked to sign a release of liability contract releasing the ski rental company from any negligence. The risk was all mine.) 

3. What you don't understand, ASK.  If someone asks you to sign a contract, that person should know enough to explain what you are signing. If you don't understand it or it's not explained clearly, don't sign.  If you have a question that the rep cannot answer, ask them to call their supervisor.

4. But don't stop there.  Make sure that what they are telling you is actually in the contract.  Ask, "Where is that written?" Many years ago, a rep told me something that turned out not to be true.  I confirmed several times and the rep verbally repeated his promise but it wasn't in the contract.  However, in the county where I live, verbal agreements must be upheld.  So the company was made to fulfill their promise. (Check for state and county laws like this in your area.)

5. Do NOT cave into pressure. Time pressure, "This offer is only good until 8:00pm tonight." If you're uncomfortable, don't sign.  Wait.  Think about it. My dad used to say, "There always another car."  Meaning, another great deal, another beautiful car, another house for sale.

Do I do this myself?  Yes!  I've bought and purchased several homes and always read the bjillion pages of the contract.  I do NOT sign anything I do not understand.  I do NOT sign anything when someone says, "Sign here.  We'll fill in the information later."  No, no you will not.  You'll do it now or I'm not signing. 

Not that you'll ever have the expertise of a lawyer, but you can become savvy enough to know when you're unprotected.

Here is more detailed and useful information on reading contracts:

https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/how-to-read-a-contract-2/?campaign_label=etsy_success&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=etsy_success_052313_5845675542_0&utm_medium=email&email_sent=1369346641&euid=fPA1V5YrfTO0hgdLkrdW8fWtV-3X

Disclaimer:
This information is for educational and informational purposes only. The content should not be construed as legal advice. The author disclaim all responsibility for any and all losses, damages, or causes of action that may arise or be connected with the use of these materials. Please consult a licensed attorney in your area with specific legal questions or concerns.

Angela DiCicco
Angela's Artistic Bouquets
etsy.com/shop/angelasartistic

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't shirk your business, but fit in PLAY time!

Over the last few months, my business has been very busy.  So busy that I have had little time for play.

I have recently come to realize that when this happens, I must get back to basics. I must continue to CREATE.  I mean make new things, work on new projects.

As I fill orders and focus (like I believe someone who owns a business needs to focus) I realize that I am getting into an unhappy rut.

And what do I have to be unhappy about?  I work from home, have a wonderful husband who supports my endeavor, love what I do. 

But creative people must be creative!  And when I'm hyper-focused on getting orders out to the exclusion of channeling my creative juices, I become stuck.

And I've been stuck.  How do I know this?  Because I don't look forward to the new day.  Because I don't rush to go to my office.  Because I dread filling my next order.

So I backtrack.  I give myself time to play.  Schedule it in.  Plan it.  Be spontaneous as an idea comes up. 

The Artist's Way by Julie Cameron suggests scheduling an "artist's date" once a week.  And I've been slacking! 

So, this week I entered a nautical craft contest using 4 different kinds of ribbon.  I challenged myself and it was fun!  Today I found several crocheted doilies and thought, "What can I do with these besides resell them?"  Pinterest to the rescue!  I can make scarves, attach them to tops, jean jackets.  Now my biggest concern is narrowing it down to one idea!

I'm back to being ambitious, back to being joy-filled.  Back to being EXCITED!  And when all of these things happen, I can FLY through my orders as I look forward to my next exciting new project.

Creators - never stop creating!  It's in our blood and to stop creating, even for a short time, stops the fresh flow of ideas that makes us who we are!  

So, what fresh ideas will you allow yourself this week? 

Angela DiCicco
Angela's Artistic Bouquets               

etsy.com/shop/angelasartistic




Friday, March 15, 2013

Checking in with our New Year Resolutions

Most of us, with the best intentions, create New Year's Resolutions.  In the New Age philosophy, you carry the wave of the freshness of the New Year through the first week or so.

I find that goal setting makes me nervous.  Sets me up for failure.  Oh, I know I have to have some daily goals and lifetime goals to reach for.  But in between those 2, having to make $300/day as a goal stresses me out!

It also leaves no wiggle room for what may delight me or what the universe wants to bring into my life!

And what about a string of days where I don't meet my $300/day goal?  Am I a failure?

No.  What works for me is to have general goals, affirm them daily and let go of the outcome.

Instead of New Year's Resolutions, I come up with a theme for the year.  One year my theme was Spirituality and that was my focus.  I attended as many Spiritual opportunities as I could including new churches, drum circles, mediation sessions.  Whatever spoke Spiritual to me that year, I dove into.

Another year my theme was Abundance.  I looked for abundance in all things that year and acknowledged its presence in my life, whether it be finding a dime on the street, a dinner someone made for me or a sale.

Last year  I focused on Serenity.  When I found myself out of balance, I reminded myself to do whatever I needed to do to return me to center and serenity. 

This year I have 2 themes, Prosperity and Tranquility.

 Wikipedia defines prosperity as: the state of flourishing, thriving, good fortune and / or successful social status. Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes others factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health.

Tranquility is defined as:  quality or state of being tranquil; calmness; serenity n.

So, checking in daily to keep myself on track with my 2 focuses this year.

How are your New Year's resolutions going?

Angela
 https://www.etsy.com/shop/AngelasArtistic

Monday, March 4, 2013

28 Link lists for getting "likes" on FB

Do you use link ladders on FB to gain "likes?"  Some think these are not real "fans" and don't turn into "sales."  And that may be true.  But what is your motivation?  Do you want a relationship with people?  That's another way of marketing. 

I am interested in a) raising awareness of my button bouquets and b) reach.  The more "likes" we have the more reach we have.  That means friends of friends who see a post.  Many of  my posts go viral!  And these "likes" do share my posts, comment on my bouquets and "like" them which means more people see them! Plus they're fun to do!  I love watching my numbers grow almost as much as I love watching my sales grow! 

You'll find many types of ladders: weekend ladders, overnight ladders, open wall pages and more! Sunday night FB is bouncing with link ladders!

Some promote their ladders better than others.  Some are no rules ladders, some ladders you must follow all the rules or be hidden.  Some ask you to share the ladder. So please read the rules carefully. Some also offer paid advertising so that's up to you.   Some offer incentives like free advertising or shout outs.  A bonus!

Here a some basic rules for all link ladders. First you MUST "like" from your PERSONAL page.  Second, when asked to "tag" your page, input your business like this: @angelasartisticbouquets.It will then link back to you.

Here's a list that I have compiled with link ladders on FB.  Check them out and decide for yourself.   I'm sure you'll find more as you join in on these!  Have fun!

https://www.facebook.com/TheCatsMeowNetwork
https://www.facebook.com/ladders.sessions
https://www.facebook.com/uptheladderyougo
https://www.facebook.com/LittleMonsterAdvertising
https://www.facebook.com/fanpagepromote
https://www.facebook.com/sprinklemewithfans
https://www.facebook.com/linkfairy1
https://www.facebook.com/NewBusinessHikesLikesLadder
https://www.facebook.com/ladybirdpromotessocialmediamarketing
https://www.facebook.com/TheBusinessCraftersNetwork
https://www.facebook.com/networkingfornetworkers/info
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scoobysadvertisinglikesandmore61
https://www.facebook.com/SuperMumsCommunity
https://www.facebook.com/ShoutOutsAndLadders** didn't seem as active
https://www.facebook.com/SupportMyFanPage
https://www.facebook.com/MomsWhoMarket
https://www.facebook.com/PlusSizeLikes
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fans-in-Paradise-Networking-and-Ladders
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Twisted-Ladder
https://www.facebook.com/TheNetworkCafe
https://www.facebook.com/AddictedToNetworking
https://www.facebook.com/InYourFaceMarketing  RULES
https://www.facebook.com/LA2LI
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mega-Likes-Ladders  **didn't seem as active
https://www.facebook.com/partyla
https://www.facebook.com/Shoutitoutnetworking
https://www.facebook.com/TheDrunkenLadder
https://www.facebook.com/fansheartme **didn't seem as active

 Angela
http://www.etsy.com/shop/AngelasArtistic

28 Link lists for getting "likes" on FB

Do you use link ladders on FB to gain "likes?"  Some think these are not real "fans" and don't turn into "sales."  And that may be true.  But what is your motivation?  Do you want a relationship with people?  That's another way of marketing. 

I am interested in a) raising awareness of my button bouquets and b) reach.  The more "likes" we have the more reach we have.  That means friends of friends who see a post.  Many of  my posts go viral!  And these "likes" do share my posts, comment on my bouquets and "like" them which means more people see them! Plus they're fun to do!  I love watching my numbers grow almost as much as I love watching my sales grow! 

You'll find many types of ladders: weekend ladders, overnight ladders, open wall pages and more! Sunday night FB is bouncing with link ladders!

Some promote their ladders better than others.  Some are no rules ladders, some ladders you must follow all the rules or be hidden.  Some ask you to share the ladder. So please read the rules carefully. Some also offer paid advertising so that's up to you.   Some offer incentives like free advertising or shout outs.  A bonus!

Here a some basic rules for all link ladders. First you MUST "like" from your PERSONAL page.  Second, when asked to "tag" your page, input your business like this: @angelasartisticbouquets.It will then link back to you.

Here's a list that I have compiled with link ladders on FB.  Check them out and decide for yourself.   I'm sure you'll find more as you join in on these!  Have fun!

https://www.facebook.com/TheCatsMeowNetwork
https://www.facebook.com/ladders.sessions
https://www.facebook.com/uptheladderyougo
https://www.facebook.com/LittleMonsterAdvertising
https://www.facebook.com/fanpagepromote
https://www.facebook.com/sprinklemewithfans
https://www.facebook.com/linkfairy1
https://www.facebook.com/NewBusinessHikesLikesLadder
https://www.facebook.com/ladybirdpromotessocialmediamarketing
https://www.facebook.com/TheBusinessCraftersNetwork
https://www.facebook.com/networkingfornetworkers/info
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scoobysadvertisinglikesandmore61
https://www.facebook.com/SuperMumsCommunity
https://www.facebook.com/ShoutOutsAndLadders** didn't seem as active
https://www.facebook.com/SupportMyFanPage
https://www.facebook.com/MomsWhoMarket
https://www.facebook.com/PlusSizeLikes
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fans-in-Paradise-Networking-and-Ladders
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Twisted-Ladder
https://www.facebook.com/TheNetworkCafe
https://www.facebook.com/AddictedToNetworking
https://www.facebook.com/InYourFaceMarketing  RULES
https://www.facebook.com/LA2LI
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mega-Likes-Ladders  **didn't seem as active
https://www.facebook.com/partyla
https://www.facebook.com/Shoutitoutnetworking
https://www.facebook.com/TheDrunkenLadder
https://www.facebook.com/fansheartme **didn't seem as active

Angela
http://www.etsy.com/shop/AngelasArtistic

Monday, January 21, 2013

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