When Saying No Keeps Your Dream On Track

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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jewelry Dream On Track

Have you ever walked into a room of suits and ties and felt out of place in your casual jeans and hoodie? Fellow entrepreneurs can appreciate the pain of feeling out of place while in the process of selling. This theory can work both ways when it comes to taking advantage of what you thought was an opportunity. You can also show up overdressed.

This week I participated in a selling opportunity that I agreed to several weeks back. The event was a private crafts show held at my husband’s company. We planned on bringing my couture jewelry and his stock photography pieces, and spent hours preparing everything for the show.

The rule I forgot – Say no to anything that does not keep your dream on track.

I remembered this about halfway through my day. It is actually an idea from the “Bootstrapper’s Manifesto” highlighted in Seth Godin’s The Bootstrappers’s Bible eBook.

Opportunities will try to cloud my focus, but I will not waver from my stated goal and plan until I change it. And I know that plans were made to be changed.

So why should I say no to an opportunity?

This particular craft show, one we had heard was lucrative in the past, sounded like a good fit. It was held at a large company, full of gainfully employed people, so where did we miss?

We didn’t do our homework.

Clue #1: There were 11 other vendors selling jewelry

There are many different ways to make jewelry – several styles, techniques, and materials. Regardless, the ratio of jewelry artists to other vendors was about 1:1. Far too many to compete with.

Once we set up I realized another huge disadvantage: many had simpler designs, and therefor much lower prices – WAY under my price point.

Clue #2: Know your audience

The audience was mostly female, which didn’t surprise me having been to and participated in several large craft shows over the years. This could have been perfect for my mid-to-high priced jewelry.

The mostly female shopping demographic was a huge surprise to my husband Ray. I regret not sharing my experience in the craft show arena until after the show. He had incredible, positive feedback on is photography, but his current collection of ready-for-sale images was for a more general population. He would have done better with flower photos.

I talk a little about the what we learned with this experience in the video below –

What can you learn from my experience?

Know your audience. No matter where you are heading, know who you’ll be in front of. This applies to your marketing strategy, website message, speaking events, or even a local craft show.

When was the last time you missed the mark with your audience?

Share the story. You’ll feel better and we can commiserate.

Until next week

~ Heather

Heather Montgomery Heather’s dream is to have multiple streams of income, starting with launching an e-commerce website that showcases her couture jewelry, which are crafted by her. You can find Heather online at For Your Adornment; Etsy.com; and Twitter And Beyond Dot Com. She also teaches Social Media tactics for business, besides being CEO of her own web design company. Heather’s post day is Friday.

  • You can also look at it as time spent advertising your jewelry and photography to people who never saw it before. And you may also want to look the inventory – are these pieces that are not selling on your e-Commerce sites, or when you had them at a retail outlet? Is there a problem with the product or the pricing or a combination of both?

    Shows are a great way to develop your customer database. Did you offer to give away a free photograph or bracelet etc in exchange for them filling out a form with their email addresses and dropping them in a fishbowl? You could have created a drawing at a certain time to draw them back to your table. You could decide that they had to be present to win . . .

    Then you can add these people to a marketing email list and email them with questions and information on your jewelry-making or photography adventures, where to buy your pieces online, and the next places they can expect to see you. You could reward them for filling out the form by giving them 10% off on an online purchase, thus driving them to your websites to look at what you offer. Then have a rating system – like we do on 8 Women Dream and begin to collect ratings on your pieces to see which ones the public likes best. Then you can decide if you want to design with that customer in mind.

    People who do well at craft fairs have regular customers who come to the fair just to buy from them.

    Here’s some other resources –

    The Oldest And Largest Craft Directory On The Web – http://www.craftsfaironline.com
    Festival Network Online – http://www.festivalnet.com

    Here’s a quote I found from a craft show adviser –

    Don’t be disappointed if you don’t make a fortune your first time out–or ever. Except for artists like Speer and Banyas, who sell exclusively through shows and fairs, most artists and craftspeople also sell through galleries, wholesalers, the Internet and other marketing channels. “My best year ever I made $18,000,” says Spelman of Wax Creations, who does most of his business at parties and events. “I’d consider making $2,000 in a weekend to be a success. Some people live off these shows; other people use it to market their business.”


  • Terry

    A good part of sales success is, as some think, just showing up. But show up prepared and success is what you will get.

    Here are some sales questions for you to always answer before your next sales calls –

    1. What is the prospect’s current situation?
    2. What are my goals for this prospective client? (Meaning am I closing a sale at this meeting or is it a “discovery meeting” for me to discover their needs or problems and how I might have a solution. If it is a discovery meeting, there are many questions and a ton of research you should be doing at this stage).
    3. What is my desired next outcome?
    4. What are my relative strengths?
    5. What are my relative vulnerabilities?
    6. What actions do I need to take before I meet with the prospect?
    7. When I meet with the client, are my shoes shinned?


  • Remy, Photographer & CEO of Cornerstone Creative

    I blew it in a meeting a week ago when I had the chance to get a client – another firm looking to outsource some consulting work. I had taken the approach like I had in the past on how I explained my fees and what they would get in return for that money invested.

    What I realized after sounding like “well we’ll just have to pass this bill in order to know what’s in it” was that all of the clients I’ve sold to in the past were either past clients or referrals from past clients who all knew what it was like to work with me, or trusted the referral on what it was like to work with me.

    This person didn’t like the “pay for a block of consulting hours up front and we’ll just get started” approach. So I have to find a way to talk about myself to people who have no idea who I am, what I do, or how great I am! lol “People, of course it’s worth the money – I mean, come on, you are getting to work with ME!” How crappy is that?

    xox Rem

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      What that prospect wanted to know, and you couldn’t answer is EXACTLY the information that should be on the front page of your website. This person just gave you a valuable marketing tool and you should use it to understand what business owners want to know upfront and answer that on your website, so that the leads that come from your site are pre-sold on your services. I hope you took good notes!;-)