Friday, December 31, 2010

Focus on Your Customer, Not Your Competition

Here is a very informative article about staying focused on your business, your customers and not your competition. Marsha Lindquist is a successful business strategist, author, speaker, and CEO of The Management Link, Inc I found it very useful to put me back in the right mindset.

For Better Business Results, Focus on Your Customer, Not Your Competition

By Marsha Lindquist

In running, as in business, looking behind you to see what your competition is doing only slows you down. Worrying excessively about your competition distracts you from the job at hand—doing your best for your customers. After all, if you are focusing on the customers’ wants and needs, then you don’t need to worry about the competition overtaking you. However, if you stop to look behind you to see what your competition is doing, you risk slowing down and having them overtake you.
Obsessing about your competition is wasteful. Time, manpower, and money are not infinite. Any effort you expend to focus on the competition means you’re wasting valuable energy by playing the competition’s game. You should only be competing against yourself—playing the best game you can by serving your customers right.
While you will undoubtedly be vaguely aware of what your competition is doing, it shouldn’t be anywhere near to your primary focus. If you’re constantly worried about what your competition is doing to outsmart you, then you are never going to be able to satisfy your customer. You will always be spending your energy and resources worrying about outsmarting your competition instead of trying to satisfy your customers with what they want and need. So ask yourself, “How can I satisfy the customer so my competition isn’t even an issue?” Then, take action.
You need to focus on how you do business, determine if you are the best solution for your customers’ problems, and then go out of your way to meet their needs. When you implement the following tips, you’ll be able to confidently compete only against yourself and stop playing the competition’s game.
1. Focus on your customers’ needs and wants: Your customers should be your top priority. With new customers, you need to work to get them on board; with your existing customers, you need to make sure they stay with you. If your current customers are not happy with you, they’ll leave. Ask them how you’re doing. Listen to their input. They already know you and love you, and they will be glad to tell you what they need from you. Your job is to meet those needs.
2. Assess your own resources and strengths: Don’t worry about who else is interested in your customers. Just like a horse in a race, put blinders on. Focus only on why you are the best company to solve your customers’ pain. Assess your assets to determine why your customers love you. Keep doing it. If you do what you do best, you will keep your customers happy.
3. Differentiate with the customers’ best interests at heart: Tell your customers how you are different—how you are quicker, better, easier, or more cost-effective to do business with. This is your opportunity to shine—don’t be modest. Here is a scenario where you do need to know enough about your competition to differentiate yourself. Once you have that information, you have the opportunity to show, demonstrate, or tell your customers all those things that are different about you so your customers remain with you.
4. Make a wiring diagram of their needs and wants: Make a map. On it, write your customers needs and wants. Also write down your resources. Then record how you provide your customers’ needs better and faster. Make a cross-diagram that shows how their needs and wants map, or relate, to what you can do. Now you know exactly what your role is and who your ideal customers are.
From an analytical standpoint, your cross diagram will show you the solution to what your customers are looking for. You may find one or two things they want or need that you can’t satisfy. Don’t panic: this puts you in the perfect position to provide a needed solution. If you have a customer need you can’t meet, go to your competition and say, “I need you to help me with this customer for this particular item. I need you to develop one small piece of what this customer needs.” And you bring the business to them because they do it best. You are still focusing on your customer, while using your competition to your advantage.
5. Focus only on that wiring map and you can’t get off-track: You won’t get distracted by what else, or who else you’re going to chase. You are now going after the same kinds of clients and that’s how you become successful. Your success happens because you’re taking this process and repeating it time after time after time. You’re riveting in on how you can focus on this customer and what they want, not on, “Oh my, what is my competition going to come up with next?”
If you worry about your competition, you’ll start second-guessing yourself and changing the way you do business. You won’t be satisfying that customer; instead, you’ll be trying to “one up” your competition and spend money on doing fancy stuff rather than the basic stuff that makes your client happy. You will start to get derailed and off-track. When that happens, you start losing business and you lose a customer. And you lose it to the very competition that you are worried is going to take over.
Hone Your Customer Focus for Better Results: Worrying about your competition is a natural phenomenon. You need to have some idea of what your competition is doing, but it shouldn’t be anywhere near your top business focus. Don’t let your competition infiltrate your thinking. You are playing your own game, not your competitions’. If you can consistently meet your customers’ needs, you will be able to stop wasting valuable time and money trying to compete with your competition. Remember, you are in business for your customers, not your competition.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What Sparks Your Creativity

             8 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

This is an article I read and thought I would share. I often hit brick walls while trying to create. I think Henrik makes some really good suggestions on how to "get over the hump". Or hydrate a dryspell.

8 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

by Henrik Edberg
Creativity is a strange, elusive creature. Sometimes is flowing like a river. Sometimes it’s all dried up and nowhere to be found. Here are some thoughts and ideas that I like and have found useful to spark or improve my own creativity. Most of them are pretty obvious, like so much advice, but I have found that if I actually use them they can be quite helpful. Also, I find it useful to – as much as possible – have a notepad and a pen around to quickly jot down the new ideas before they disappear.
1. Generate a boatload of ideas – If you haven´t had any it may because you haven´t had enough ideas yet. Have a look at One Simple Way to Get a Good Idea for some thoughts on that.
2. Take a trip outside your personal bubble – If you just have the same input every day it may be hard to come up with many new ideas.
Take some input from outside own your little bubble. Meet new people, read book about something you don´t anything about, take up a new hobby, listen to music you normally never listen to. Do something different and get some new input into your mind. This can set off a creative spark and generate fresh ideas you hadn’t thought about before.
3. Get rid of all the distractions – Shut of your phone. Close the door. Close your IM-programs. As best you can create a space where you can be creative and focus without having disturbances or having to worry about them.
Consider decluttering this space so your mind don´t have to focus on unnecessary things. And decorating the space in a way that makes you feel relaxed, centred or however you want to feel to improve your creativity. You may also want to experiment with music and silence. I have found that music sometimes boosts my creativity – wordless music seems to work best – but that more often silence is the way to go for me.
4. Criticize later – Or some part of your mind may feel threatened and shut up and withdraw. Just let ideas flow out, don´t try to censor yourself or worry about how silly the ideas may be. It’s important to keep an atmosphere of openness when trying to generate ideas and being creative, either if you do it alone or in a group at work/in school. You can sort the ideas later and determine which ones may be of best use.
5. See yourself as a creative person – Everyone is creative. Not everyone think they are. If you do not see yourself as a creative person this can seriously limit your creativity, stop the flow of ideas and make you not believe in the ideas that do surface. Even though the ideas might be good or just what you need.
Allow yourself to be a creative person. And think back to instances when you were creative and let those memories be proof that you really are a creative person. Don´t focus on the memories of when you had troubles being creative.
6. Build it – Like so many things in life creativity is bit like lifting weights (or doing your sport/exercise/game of choice). You can´t go into the gym and lift the heavy weights when you´re there for the first time. You have to start with smaller ones. Then consistently and progressively work your way up. Over time you´ll, if you train and work at it, build your creative muscles.
7. Sleep less – Here´s something that works pretty good for me once in a while. When I feel a little groggy and sleepy because I´ve slept too few hours it´s like words start flowing out of my fingers when I sit down to write.
I think it´s because when you’re a bit groggily tired you don´t think too much. Your mind doesn’t have the energy to criticise and halt your creative outflow. It´s like more doors than usual are open in the corridors of your brain and thoughts can run around more freely.
However, what is poured out when you´re in this state isn´t always pure gold. So you may want to go back and edit on a day when you are more well-rested to cut down and rewrite the sometimes non-sensical ramblings of your sleep-deprived mind.
8. Relax and play – This is very useful and a great use of your time. Go out and do something with your friends or family and just relax and have a lot of fun. Doing this for a day or an evening can recharge not only your creativity but also your motivation and general sense of well-being for days or weeks to come. Working non-stop and never playing will not.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Valentines Day

Christmas has come and gone. Time to get working on Valentines Day. I've already seen my fellow artisans working hard on their new lines. I need to pick up the pace. Here are a few jewelry designs that I have listed already.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Help for a Fellow Artisan

It's with sadness that I am posting about one of my fellow Artfire Artisans. Jean, aka LadyHawk, has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The prognosis is not very good, but she tries to move forward. The New Year will bring a host of new treatments, new medication and, unfortunately, along with that, new financial burdens. Fellow Artisan, Em of Exquisite Studios is spearheading a fundraiser to assist Jean with her financial burdens. We are donating items for sale and donating money directly. Please visit Artfire and search "jeanlove". This will bring up items available for purchase that will directly benefit Jean.
I am personally donating 100% of the proceeds of my next sale to Jean. Please visit my studio, Pink Sunset Jewelry Designs.

Keep your loved ones close. Live each day to the fullest.
 Please say a prayer for our friend Jean (LadyHawk).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Promote, Promote, Promote

I love designing and creating jewelry. I really can't say that I have a particular "style". I dabble in just about everything. Crystals, gemstones, glass, wire, chain, weaving. I go with whatever mood I'm in when I sit down at my workbench. It isn't just about creating though. In my journey to become a jewerly artist, I have learned that there is so much more to selling your art than initially thought. I have learned that I need to balance creation with promotion. This week it is all about promoting. I have tweeted, Facebooked and joined a few of the promotional sites on my long to do list. I still have many more to visit and join.
We artists and crafters have many hats we wear. We are designers, CEO's, secretarys, creators, makers, marketing directors, inventory specialists, promotion officers, photographers (don't let me even go there), bookkeepers, postal workers, packagers. The list goes on. And that's not including our domestic duties and day jobs. Not thinking too much of it, I applied for a business license and got my tax ID # and my sole proprietorship certificate. Only weeks later, did it sink in, that I am a business OWNER. Me, little ole me. WOW!
So now it's time to really sit down, figure out my business plan, carefully plan my schedule and list of daily to-do's. Right now, the Holidays are upon us and there are lots of things to do.

 The first of the year will bring many changes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's December......Already?

December is here and I can't help wonder how I got so behind. By now, I usually have my Christmas decorations up, my annual letter and Christmas cards written and ready to send, my infamous rumball ingredients bought and the majority of my shopping done. Where did the time go? I have be so focused on my jewelry making, My Artfire Studio, working that over for the holidays. Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales, promotions, etc, etc. Time has gotten away from me. My daughter and sis are coming in from North Carolina and Seattle, respectively, to attend my nephews wedding. I'm afraid this weekend will be a bust unless I can make shopping and decorating a family affair. Time to put it into overdrive and get moving.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I treated myself.......

I just purchased the most beautiful Batik print and thought that I would tell you all about it. I purchased it from InnerHueArtStudio on Artfire.

Wearing Away

Absolutely gorgeous Batik work.

"So, what is batik? Batik is an ancient art form with its roots in many different cultures. Traditional methods of creating batiks vary from culture to culture, but essentially batik involves the applications of a resist and dyes on cloth to produce an image. Once viewed as a traditional art craft, batik has evolved as an art form and is becoming embraced by respected artists and collectors around the world."(InnerHueArtStudio)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sale

Starting Midnight on  Black Friday and ending midnight on Cyber Monday, Pink Sunset Jewelry Designs will be having a 25% off sale on every item im my studio Pink Sunset Jewelry Designs  (excluding gift certificates). Make sure to hotlist your favorite items and be ready to shop! Here are some items for consideration.
Jasper Bracelet

Red Velvet Crystal and Charm Bracelet

Turquoise and Brass Chandelier Earrings

Copper Cone and Brass Earrings

Handwoven Swarovski Crystal heart Necklace

Peach Moonstone and Brass Necklace

Blue Glass Heart and Star Charm Purse Jewelry

Blue Sandal and Crystal Cell Charm

Beadwoven Bangle Collection

The following collection consists of handwoven, off-loom beaded bangles done in brick stitch. Each bead is woven into the design one seed bead at a time. Woven on a sturdy armature and embellished with coordinating charms, pearls and crystals.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Long Day Today...

I'll be working 24 hours in the next 36. I am caffeinating myself in preparation. I will be working my "day" job but always carry my bead bag with me for the down time.
I am approaching 300 items in my artfire shop. Here are a couple of my newest items.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

While I was waiting......

Soooo. I wake up this morning to a flood in my kitchen. After shutting off the water and mopping up the floor. I get to removing all of those "under the counter" stuff. With a wrench and some teflon tape in hand, I get up under the sink and realize that there is no flippin way I can get to what is leaking. So I have been waiting on the plumber, you know, the 4 hour window that give you (which is long gone by the way).

and while I was waiting, I made this. Rectangular puffed amethyst and copper necklace, bracelet and earring set.

So the day was not all lost. But I don't think that this set is going to offset the plumbing bill. Sigh........

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting Ready for the Holidays

I've been mulling over what type of Holiday promotion to do.  What percentage off I can give without really cutting myself off at the  knees. I've been told that my prices are too low. So, by giving too much of a discount, am I reallymaking any money.

What's your holiday promotion strategy?

Just Sold

I woke up this morning to a sale.
They are slow in coming.
Yellow Agate Jumpring Charm Bracelet

Friday, October 29, 2010

Work! Work! Work!

How do you find the time to do everything? I'm a single mother with a full time job, three web studios and a passion for jewelry making. How in the world do you balance everything? There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to wear my many hats. Domestic Diva, yard man, pool boy, cook, seamstress, dispatcher, mom, electrician, repairman, web studio owner, graphic designer, jewelry just doesn't end. And I'm sure like all of my followers who have families of many shapes and sizes, we tend to put our wants, need and the such onthe back burner. Saying to ourselves "If I have time left, I'll do this for me". How do you fit all of these things in a 24 hour day. I have yet to master the art of time allotment. I have attempted to give myself a certain amount of time for everything. Unfortunately, I don't operate that way. I like to start and finish a task, preferring not to leave things undone.

Come on my followers: share your ideas for time management. I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


After listing over 150 items in my shop,  I came to the realization that MY PHOTO'S STINK! I thought that putting my jewelry on a white or black background would allow the buyer to see "just the jewelry". I started  reading the Photography thread  in the Artfire Forum and whew....brain overload. I read each post carefully..learing new terms along the way, iso, saturation, white balance...wth?!!
I started visiting other shops to see what I thought was visually appealing. In the end, my site looked like a catalogue....sigh! I learned that you can have backgrounds and "staging" that enhance your pieces without overpowering them. So I have been re-taking ALL of my photos....editing....and uploading them.
Here are my before and after shots. Whaddaya think?


Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Friday Payday!

Money in the bank...I'm heading off to the grocery store. Old Mother Hubbards Cupboard is bare. I finished the redline marble pendant and it came out great. I started another pendant. Again I just need to put the backing on.

It's a large jasper stone, in a seed bead woven bezel. I really love this piece. I just might have to reconsider selling this one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to my Day Job!

Well, it's back to work after a 5 day mini-vaca. Luckily I can take a project with me to work on. Today it another beaded bezel gemstone pendant. Thank God for multi-tasking!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leaving the Cave

I must leave the beading cave for now to take care of some domestic duties. Time to put the pool boy and landscaper hats on! I will be back though to finish this redline marble beadwoven pendant. I just need to put the backing on.

AND THE WINNER IS ....................

Thanks to all of you who played along and entered the "My wallet is empty" contest.  The results are in. I spent (drum roll please) $289.50. So that means that the winner of the contest is:  

Delinda of DeDeBobs of Artfire
visit her site!

Her guess was $269
YAY!!!!!   Everyone give her a hand....
SHE WINS............

Thanks to everyone who participated. Stay tuned for more contests.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pink Sunset Jewelry Designs Amber Nugget Necklace Feature in an Artfire Collection

My Wallet is Empty Contest --Can You Guess How Much I Spent?

This morning I headed north about an hour to Pompano Beach to attend the Intergalactic Bead Show. It was in a small old civic center auditorium. I found alot of the usual vendors and some new ones. Met a wonderful woman who makes lampwork and ceramic beads and focal pieces. She lives close to me too. this could be dangerous. Havana Beads Check her out. While searching for a seed bead vendor, I was told that there was a Down the Street bead show less than  a mile away. Poor planning on both organizers parts. But I left the first one...most of my allotted money gone, and headed to the next. Eureka, found my seed beads. Mission complete!
Look at all my goodies! How much do you think I spent?
The winner will be chosen from the first 25 posts OR guesses posted by 10am, est, Monday, October18th.
Ther person coming CLOSEST will win!
Post your guess and
 You Could Win This
1 1/2" square Beaded Bezel Mauve Picture Jasper Pendant!
Made from some of my purchased goodies.

The winner will be announced in the Artfire Forum and here on my Blog and will recieve their prize right away! (free shipping, of course)
 Can't wait to get some more work done.......

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You have to check out this shop!

I have seen this shop around the artifire water cooler. I finally took a look inside and, ahhhh (can you hear the harps?) I am in love with her little baby sculptures. I bought a baby's first christmas ornament today for a friend of mine. Isn't it just precious?
OOAK Baby Ornament 1st Christmas
Make sure to visit her shop ButtonWilloe Artfire Studio

And on a more serious note...I'm putting on my shopping hat and hitting the bead show today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Bead Treasure Hunt

Tomorrow is the Intergalactic Bead Show. I am on a quest for some interesting gemstones and findings. I have to put myself on a money restriction, due to lack of self-control at these types of venues. I've already started to compile a wish list. I always head out the door with the intention of sticking to the list....but we all know how this goes. I'll let you know if I fell off the bead wagon. maybe even post some of my goodies!!!
Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have just finished listing my 250th item on my Artfire Studio, Pink Sunset Jewelry Designs  . I have alot more to upload. I am still working on my photography....tweaking new and completed pieces.
Peach Moonstone and Brass Y Necklace
Peach Moonstone and Brass Y Necklace

Post Regatta work

Well, last weekend I spent on the water attending the Columbus Day Regatta. Just think Mardi Gras on the water. Well you get the picture.
The girls rockin the beads!

And then it was back to work on the jewelry (once I got my land legs back). My latest piece, inspired by the blue sky and ocean here in Miami.
Triple strands of oval faceted Amazonite gemstones  made into a bracelet.

Created and Sold!

Stay tuned for more........

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Welcome to Pink Sunset Jewelry Designs blogspot. I've just started. Check back soon for updates.