Where Money Goes… A Look at Expenses

expenses

I have shared before my income breakdown and where my income comes from… but I don’t think I have ever shared where my business income goes….  So here’s a peek at behind the curtain again at what went on for me in 2016.

While I think that this is mostly self explanatory, one of the biggest categories on here is advertising.  I take out FB ads and other promotions for my products as well as do physical mailings for guilds to book me.

Every year I look at the transactions in my Wave program (what I use for my accounting) for each category and see how I can reduce my expenses so I hang on to more income.   That may mean changing vendors for a better price on office supplies, or switching banks to lower fees.

201 inc exp

Since I have previously shared where the revenue streams were from, this graph  shows you how the year stacked up.  My expenses were half of what my revenue was, meaning it takes half of my revenue to run the business.

I hope this has been helpful to you to see how this works.  The numbers for 2017 will be much different, and I hope to spell that out next year!

Fiesta de Azucar! Join Us On a Weekly Sugar Skull Blog Hop!

File Jul 01, 9 41 25 AMI’m super excited to be part of this really cool blog hop all about Sugar Skulls that starts TODAY!!  It’s the Fiesta de Azucar, or Sugar Party!

Many of the artists are sharing stories of loved ones who have passed on and have made their blocks in honor of the tradition of Dia de los Muertos (aka the Day of the Dead).  The calavera (Spanish for skull) decorate altars decorated for the deceased.   I’ve been the recipient of many sugar skull items from my blog readers, and I have bought some in a local bakery each year to put in my haunted parlor.  My block honors the sewing ladies.  You’ll have to come back here to see it!

Here’s how the blog hop is going to work:

Beginning on July 1st through August 26th 2017 each designer will release their skull design. On September 2nd and September 9th there will be two border designs released. Each hopper is releasing their custom blog for only $3.  Don’t want to make the whole quilt?  No problem, you can pick and choose what blocks you want and make mini quilts instead!  We even have a great Facebook Group you can join to follow along with the fun, with contests if you make the blocks or even the whole quilt!

Here’s the schedule along with the participants and their blogs.  GO NOW and check out the first block!!

July 1st – Block 1 – Terri Sontra, Purple Moose Designs
July 8th – Block 2 – Joanne Hillestad, Fat Quarter Gypsy
July 15th – Block 3 – Vicki Hansen, Cranberry Pie Designs
July 22nd – Block 4 – Cheryl Sleboda, Muppin
July 29th – Block 5 – Penni Domikis, Cabin In The Woods Quilters
August 5th – Block 6 – Tammy Silvers, Tamarinis
August 12th – Block 7 – Kate Colleran, Seams Like A Dream Quilt Designs
August 19th – Block 8 – Susan Emory, Swirly Girls Design
August 26th – Block 9 – Trish Frankland, Persimon Dreams
September 2nd – Border Option #1 – Tammy Silvers, Tamarinis
September 9th – Border Option #2 – Terri Sontra, Purple Moose Designs
October 30th – Prize winner announcements!!

When Your Quilt Bully is Your “Friend” and How to Spot Them

quiltbully (1)So there’s been a lot on quilt bullies, lately.  From the Generation Q magazine anti-quilt-bully campaign to the “secret Facebook group” controversy that made it’s way to the BBC news, it’s time we admit we have a problem.  Some quilters seem to like to put other quilters down…and I’m not talking about the “I just don’t like those quilts” garden variety we have all encountered or overheard at a show.

Nope, this is some next level shit.   It’s super shocking when you hear about “secret lists” of people being nasty in a private area.  But what if that quilt bully is your friend?  Or at least someone you thought was a friend?

Yeah, I’m an expert on this subject.

You see, I want people to know what I know in this business.  I like to help people.  If you were someone who wanted to know how I got to be on Quilting Arts TV, or be in a magazine, or teach at a show, I am willing to help you.  I have had more than a few conversations and friendships develop over it.  In fact I was told “I was a very handy person to know” when it came to it.  I’m happy when my friends use my advice and advance their career.  It’s what it’s all about.  “Rising tides raise all boats” meaning if they do well, I’ll do well too.

Enter the bullies.

Well really, they are your friend, right?  I can’t say what possesses them to turn on you.  Maybe it’s jealousy over your successes.  Maybe it’s their insecurity. Frankly, I don’t care.  Because nothing hurts more than hearing your “friend” that you have been helping has been ugly behind your back.  And I mean UGLY.  Like trying to sabotage your career ugly.  Stabbed in the back doesn’t even describe the hurt. And I wasn’t even one of the ones who are in that controversy mentioned above, this was all one on one.

And I’m still not over it.  I absolutely HATE to admit that this injury has affected me to the point where I actually second guess helping someone with a question or situation out of fear of being hurt again.  I seriously regret ever helping them in the first place.  It’s affected every part of my career, from other friendships to industry contacts wanting to know why your “friend” isn’t hanging around you anymore to online groups where I used to give lots of advice dropping to near zero.  I felt taken advantage of, and now the world looks like everyone has their hand stuck out asking for the same help as my “friend”.

But here’s what I noticed:

They are negative about everyone and everything.  I should have seen this one coming because of the general negativity.  I won’t be afraid to be calling this out more in the future.  If they are negative about everyone and everything else in the quilt world, you can bet your buttons they are saying the SAME SHIT about you.

They never give back to you what you give to them.  When the relationship is one sided, that’s when you have to beware.  And who wants friends that only take, and don’t share or pass on their knowledge like you do? And I don’t mean that they are a teacher and that’s how they give back.  I mean, are they helping your career like you are helping them?  Are they singing YOUR praises like you do theirs?  Are they suggesting you to industry folks like you do for them?  If the answer is no, take stock of this “friendship”.

Their conversations are one sided.  If you are talking and everything goes back to them and their project, take this as a warning sign. A real friend listens to you and your end, and wants to help you as much as you want to help them. If everything is about them, watch yourself.

Their hand always seems to be out.  Another weird trait I noticed of the people I’d classify in this way is that they always wanted something free.  However if they had something extra, it NEVER went the other way.   They need to be at the party, could you get them in?  They need an introduction, could you help out?  Did you see this fabric I got at that booth that was free (and no, I didn’t grab you one)?  Yeah, always looking to see what other people have and wanting to get it too… that isn’t “ambition”, it’s greed.

So take stock next time you are with your quilt friends, and pay attention to the stuff they say or post online. Maybe they aren’t a full-on bully, but it could be that they are.  In the secret group, it took one person to call the behavior out and blow the lid off a group of people actually plotting to take down fellow quilter’s careers.

It’s up to all of us to stop bullies from bullying.  If you see something wrong, you need to call them on it or the behavior continues.  If they do continue, then you know you don’t need that person in your life!

 

Stuff and things… (or Being Sick)

File Jun 27, 11 24 51 AMThe past 18 months have been really hard.  Harder than I’d like to admit to myself sometimes.  Being sick sucks.  But being so sick that you physically or mentally can’t DO anything really, really, really sucks. That has been me for nearly 3 weeks.  And let me tell you, this one did a number on me.  I was told to rest, and I’m not good at “resting”.

Not only is this the first really debilitating illness I have had in a long time, but this is the first one since both my divorce and job loss.  I had to get over it on my own and without any financial support.  As an entrepreneur, when you don’t work, you don’t earn.  In addition, I had a business trip that I could not miss in the middle of everything, which set me back as I was not resting and caused a recurrence of the illness.   I missed deadlines I really wish I didn’thave to miss.  I have had almost too much time to noodle over things that make me sad.

BUT….I’m FINALLY feeling better, and let me tell ya, I’m chomping at the bit to get everything back off the drawing boards and into reality.

If you haven’t seen the cool Cosplay interviews we are doing over at Sew Much Cosplay then go check that out.  If you haven’t seen the new items in the SHOP, please check those out.  I have a bunch of secret things going on (as usual) that will all be revealed soon.   Please bear with me as I get back into the swing of things!!

Use Your Powers For Good (or No one tells you how to be Famous)

Powers blog graphic (1)So. You may have heard that there’s a little kerfluffle in the quilting world right now.  If you haven’t, I think one of the best ways I can describe it is HERE on the Generation Q Magazine website.

One of the few things I teach in my Building up Your Branding webinar is that if your goal is to build a business, and essentially a BRAND, on the internet and elsewhere, you absolutely must, must, must be careful what you say on the internet.   It follows you.  It WILL haunt you, for good or ill, forever.  Even if you think you have quickly removed it, you can bet someone may have taken a screenshot.

I have often said I never set out to be a “famous” quilter. (And if you don’ think I’m a famous quilter, then that’s cool too, I often think that myself.)  I did my thing, and people liked it.  Contrary to people’s beliefs, there’s no “famous quilter school” you can attend to learn how to do this.  No one teaches you how to accept a compliment, or how to read a contract, or what to evaluate if a deal is a good one.  No one shows you how to comport yourself to not piss off half your customers whose views differ from yours.  You wing it, and figure it out as you go along, and that is part of the problem.

That’s why in my webinar I say: Use your powers for good.  If you own a quilting business of ANY kind: artist, designer, longarmer, shop owner… Your words MATTER.  Your actions MATTER.  Even if you are just starting out, what you say and do go with you.   So if you are going to put your powers to use, choose carefully.  One day, when you hit the quilting lottery and you are a superstar in the industry, those words are going to come back.  Your future words and actions will be closely followed.  It will MATTER to someone.  Gen Q’s anti-bullying campaign referenced in the link above says to think before you type, and while it’s trite and cute as a saying, it is super personal to me.  Why?  One of those pictures in that post is a comment someone typed out TO ME.

I have strong opinions on the current state of affairs in the quilting debacle that’s currently ongoing, but as a business owner it would be the last possible thing I’d discuss online.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don’t need to alienate readers or customers by doing so.   I’m angry at the whole thing, because people’s livelihoods were being actively campaigned against.  No one should have to go through that, on either side.  Folks who have come out saying they want the lists of the offenders published: people see you saying that too.  But how much better would any single one of those people who are now on the other end of the ire be if they focused that terrible energy into something GOOD for their business?  I, for one, would rather focus my energies inward and make myself a better human or my business more successful rather than try to take someone else’s down, whatever the reason.  So please, let’s all use our powers for good.  The quilting world would be much better for it!