09 February 2011

Guest Post Tuesday - with Nin McKay from The Wardrobe

The ever narrowing path of obsession

Crafting Prosperity 
exploring benchmarks of success in an indie business beyond monetary profit

I've been doing a bit of business planning recently. Trying to fit what I do, how I do it and particularly why I do it into a traditional business plan template is somewhat fraught with difficulty. However I see value in a plan which identifies very clearly where I'm going (so I'll know when I get there - success - hurray!)

For me, and I suspect others who embark in a crafty or indie enterprise; the markers for successful business are so very different to traditional business milestones. Indeed much of traditional business practice is the antithesis of what I am trying to achieve.
"Success - what does that mean to you?  I get the impression that to be successful in business you need to make a lot of dough. It seems like a bit of a treadmill doesn't it? The accumulation of money." 
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you don't deserve adequate recompense for your talents. However, there's another notion I'd like to explore as a possible benchmark of success. The concept of prosperity is something that fits more naturally in my business plan.
A dictionary definition of prosperity at:- http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/prosperity had a rather disappointing definition:
“1. a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, esp. in financial respects; good fortune.
2. prosperities, prosperous circumstances. “
Prosperity is especially about money is it? Or Is it? I'd like to share some alternative definitions which have become cornerstones in my business plan.

Prosperity is contentment, not a bank account.  I have this maxim on my notice board and on the pen I keep with my business cheque book.  Being contented is not settling for second best or giving in - it’s being appreciative, grateful and dare I say it joyous about what you have. 

work board with the people who love me watching over
It’s a bit of a battle these days to feel genuine contentment when everywhere you look the media machine we surround ourselves with suggests you need bigger, better, more..... Real contentment is not "keeping up with the Joneses" it is not the accumulation of things.

Prosperity is not achieved at the expense of others. It is not about beating the competition down or supressing other’s dreams or ideas. 

An important activity in my business is getting involved in business networks. Networking is not about taking what you need and running for the hills, it’s the exchange of ideas and sharing of contacts - it’s about collaboration and mutual benefit.

My best and truest friend, and truth be told my oldest customer!
Prosperity in this sense is about ethical business practice - what does that mean to you?  For me, it’s simply that I have to live with me; therefore I can only 'Do unto others as I would have them do unto me. ’Nuf said.

Prosperity is sharing not hording. I think one of the saddest concepts in our society today is that there is not enough (food, time, love, success, money, creative ideas, etc.) to go around.

Being generous with your time, your knowledge and skills not only makes you feel awesome, it opens you up to a wellspring of abundance - what you put out in this world you get back threefold.  

I teach dressmaking and craft classes at a local fabric store.  Although it wasn’t the reason why I started, working in this way has increased interest in my blog and sales in my online shop.  I’ve made new friends and customers and I’ve started to develop a reputation as a go-to person on all questions dressmakie. 

my daughter at the beach - our favourite place and a source of creativity for me
Another way to let the world know you are a crafting maven is through online tutorials. Many creatives I've met are worried that by sharing they will open themselves up to being copied.  You know what, that might happen.  It’s happened to me.  Unfortunately there are people out there who will take what’s not theirs whether you choose to share it or not.  

I don't think the answer is to stop sharing but I’m not suggesting you share all your best new ideas.  By proactively sharing, in an online tutorial say, you have the opportunity to tell others how you want that information to be used (by adding a copyright).  But that won't stop them I hear you say!  I believe the benefits of sharing outweigh the negatives, and really 99% of readers are honest and will honour your copyright – even alert you if someone else is attempting to pass their work off as your own.

The only other thing I can suggest is to keep one step ahead.  If you get copied, it might be time to let that one go and come up with the next original idea - remember there are enough creative ideas to fill your head for the rest of your days.

Prosperity is feeding your creativity on a daily basis

For me this is being in nature and observing my little girl.  But I’m also mindful to include new places, new interests and new people in my quest for creativity.  Too much sameness can lead to obsession and obsession is an every narrowing path.

Prosperity is true friendships. Investing your love and time into true friends and family is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Ever. Finding the balance in my life and my business is a constant issue.  If I let myself, I could be completely absorbed by my work because truly I love what I do!  I have to tell myself daily "....in the fullness of time".

What is a successful business without loving people around to share it with?  

What defines success in your business?

Nin McKay can be found here at her blog ...


  1. Nin, I really like your thoughts.
    Your post reminds me of those movies about little family businesses that everyone loves to be working for and a customer of. Then one day a businessperson happens past and sees potential and makes them really successful. 99% of the tims it means moving the focus away from enjoyment of work and putting it onto making lots of money.

  2. Such a well written and interesting post! Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. A very enjoyable post Nin. Many of us will be nodding in agreement while reading I know:). I too thank you for sharing and reminding me of the important things in life x

  4. Hi Nin, I have found that to be successful and prosperous, I needed to place my art out into the world with positive energy,I needed to not worry that people might copy it, and some have but say, there is room for all. It is not about money, it is like you said about connecting. I have found Connecting with others in the world who love what you do is important, you need to stay connected to your viewers, be interested in their lives and art, and they in turn will be connected to yours. cheers Marie

  5. A very thoughtful and interesting perspective... thank you.

  6. I absolutely agree it's about connecting - and networking. there's no better key to success especially in our handmade, boutique type niches. well done nin x

  7. Thanks everyone for taking the time to leave a comment. Rock on the connecting!


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