Christa’s Soapbox – Do the Work

So back at the end of 2012 I set some pretty lofty goals for my business. That summer I discovered the modern aesthetic and decided it was time to go pro with my quilting. It’s been 3 years of hard, but enjoyable work and I’m finally starting to see the fruits of my labor. This had me reflecting on the idea of how there’s really no such thing as overnight success. It takes dedication, organization and WORK to get to where you want or need to be.

I listen to a lot of craft business/entrepreneurial type podcasts and enjoy reading trade magazines and attending industry events where I get to talk shop with other makers and business owners. One theme that continually comes up is “Do the Work.” You can set all the goals in the world, make up pretty charts, keep a business journal and go to conferences for inspiration. However, unless you actually buckle down and do the work, it’s not going to happen.

20150721_wipJust a few of the behind-the-scenes projects I am working on….

I feel like I’ve finally reached a turning point with my business over the last year. In that time, I’ve (1) finalized my book, (2) been accepted to teach at QuiltCon, (3) created my first set of professional looking quilt patterns and (4) curated a selection of precuts that successfully sell.

But what has led up to that point is a lot of HARD WORK behind the scenes: (1) It took months of researching and brainstorming to come up with a really good proposal. (2) It took years of teaching experience to craft a good set of class offerings (not to mention determination to try again when I wasn’t accepted the previous year). (3) It took nearly a decade to decide how to produce my patterns and get some help making that happen. (4) It took a leap of faith to completely change our retail business model.

In this world of instantaneous communication, it’s often hard to work on long-term projects behind the scenes that can’t be shared until much later. But I made a promise to myself that no matter how busy things get, I would still take time to stop and reflect. So I write this post today not only to encourage others to do the work to make things happen, but also as a reminder to myself to keep doing the hard work that eventually pays off.

What goals are you working towards? I’d love to know!

17 thoughts on “Christa’s Soapbox – Do the Work

  1. Stephanie says:

    This post has been very inspirational to me. Though I’ve been sewing for about 5 years, I just got bit by the quilting bug this year. My goals are to build and fine tune my piecing and appliqué skills as well as machine quilting.

  2. daphnedawn says:

    Your hard work has definitely been rewarded! This is the encouragement I needed right now as I try to get back to becoming more productive. It’s been a long haul, but doing the work is the only way it will happen.

  3. Hedy says:

    You have always left me with the impression you are a spunky gal. And I love reading about your business adventures and how you are willing to change to get what you need. And that’s the important word: need. I am embracing change in my life also with the addition of a dear granddaughter to our home, probably for just a short time, but it’s a big change. I am wanting to roll with the changes and just glide along and not buck up and cause issues. I feel there are going to be so many more changes because of my granddaughter leaving the nest and I want to be ready to deal with them all.

  4. Nina With Freckles says:

    I’ve watched you with admiration for quite some time already, and have to say that you come across as someone, who keeps her cool, has clear goals, and goes for them. You seem hard working, like you said yourself, and ambitious. It’s wonderful to see you build your success by your own hands, and it is inspirational.

    I’m not sure you are familiar with Stephanie Pollock and her Beyond PRO podcast yet, but it’s one of the most practical stuff I’ve ever heard or read. She keeps them short but sweet, and actionable from start to finish. She’s just starting out, so there’s more than enough time to catch up still, and generously she also provides her listeners with pdf printables, which I haven’t used myself yet, but imagine will be even more helpful for someone with real, big decisions to make. Warmly recommend Stephanie’s stuff in other words!

  5. Lou says:

    My goal was to just quilt for fun… then came the friends who brought other friends:) I have to say this the 4th year of my LA business is the best! I am never without a quilt and there is actually a wait time up to 2 months. Before I was getting them out in 2 weeks or less.
    I always had a down time right after Christmas and then in the summer but not this year:)
    I still don’t quilt when I am not in the mood because that makes for unhappy quilting! And since it is home based I have learned not to take calls on weekend and in the evenings when it’s hubby time. If they want me to quilt for them they will leave a message:)
    I just love people almost in tears when they pu their quilt they are SO happy:) That is why I do it:)

  6. adaisygarden says:

    So happy you are teaching at QuiltCon! Congrats!! I am hoping to go this time with my daughter. We weren’t able to go this year so we’re looking forward to the coming one. You are very talented and it’s no wonder your hard work is paying off. Congrats again! 🙂

  7. Sue says:

    Thanks for such an encouraging post, it came at a time where I’ve been asked to take on another role at work & I was doubting myself as I often do! I know I can do it but didn’t know if I wanted change. Reading your post makes me feel I can do it. Thanks 😃 I’m also trying new ideas with my quilting too!

  8. Sue Sorensen says:

    As an acting coach once said “It takes years of hard work to become an overnight success”. Congratulations on seeing the fruits of your labors! The quilting community is better off for your perseverance.

  9. yvonnemenear says:

    I love your blog. This one really rang true for me. As a fellow educator/speaker/author, I know how much dedication and constant work it takes to be in this business. I have learned from you about the modern quilts and you put it into perspective for me. Keep up the good work!

  10. Pam White says:

    One reason that I always love reading your stuff and loved taking your class is you are so “real”. Thank you for always sharing the hard stuff and your beginnings. It makes me feel as if I won’t always be where I am now. My goal is quilting my quilts on my own sewing machine. I am doodling and practicing blocks and watching videos constantly. Your blog and class has given me the confidence I needed.

  11. Jeanne Rhea says:

    I read so many blogs about the business of art or being an artist. They range from Jason Horejs’ Red Dot blog to The Painter’s Keys to Alyson Stanfield to Marketing tools for Artists and on and on… You got it right. They all say, “Do the work.” I think that is most of the formula. I enjoy your blog and you almost have me back to the sewing machine and quilting a bit!

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