How to pay for college without loans

   An article in Entrepreneur article titled “10 Businesses You Can Start From Your Dorm Room” listed IT consultant, social media consultant , web designer, photographer, personal trainer, event planner, graphic designer, cleaning service, makeup artist, landscaper and snow removal. I found it interesting that there was no mention of all the crafty businesses students can run from their dorm room, particularly since so many students are crafters.
There’s so much opportunity to sell handmade items both on and off campus and if you have an item that appeals to a young, trendy population, you have a built in customer set of tens of thousands of qualified buyers.   And that’s without even taking your business online. If you are a college student or parent of a college student, check out the e-guide “Crafting Your Way Through College” for lots of craft businesses you can start while still in school. Most of these you can even start while still in 
high school. If you’re not a maker or want ideas beyond crafting check out “Create Your Own Summer Job”. (you can do most of these businesses any time of year.) 

What you should do this week to sell more of your handmade crafts for Mother’s Day

If you sell your handmade jewelry or crafts on Etsy or another website AND you’re doing all the right things to drive the traffic (buyers) to your site, that’s wonderful. Remember, though, a lot of people are last minute shoppers and won’t begin shopping until Friday for Mother’s Day Sunday.

Many artists, crafters and jewelry makers assume everyone knows about Etsy but you’d be amazed at all the qualified buyers with money to spend who would never dream of looking on Etsy for a Mother’s Day gift. There are also many people who want to see and touch the gift before they buy. That’s one reason brick and mortar jewelry stores still exist.

Your job, the week leading up to Mothers’ Day, is to get your work in front of buyers where they already spend time:

  • offices and hospitals
  • spas and barber shops
  • gyms
  • sports bars

If you took my advice and set up some trunk shows for Valentines Day, this week you should just call the places where your sales were best and schedule a date to do it again in May. If you haven’t taken any of these suggestions yet, now is the time to follow through and plan to make more money from your craft.

Remember it’s to their advantage to have you in their establishment. To read why, you’ll find more lots of ideas for what you can do to sell more crafts at the last minute HERE. Some of the tips are written about Valentines Day but they work great for Mother’s’ Day as well.

2 ways to get your craft, classes or services in front of millions if you hate marketing and self-promotion

Last week a client told me about something that I want to share with you, particularly if you’re someone who hates marketing your own craft. It’s one of the coolest things to pop up in this new shared economy. Aimed at travelers,  it’s important to know if you have any skill or knowledge you’d like to get paid to share with others.

I alredy knew about Verlocal but I’m really excited about both of these opportunities. I think it’s especially helpful for those of you who still haven’t made peace with the M-word. If you want to get your offerings out to a wider audience without having to do the promotion yourself (and you haven’t yet discovered that marketing can actually be a creative activity) you’ll love both of these.

If you live in a major city and have ANYTHING you are knowledgeable about that you’d like to get paid to share with others, you can become an “Experience Host” on AirBnB. You do NOT have to be an AirBnB host to be an Experience host. Hosts can offer immersions or one day experiences. Immersions happen over multiple days and are offered as is. One day experiences can last just a couple of hours. You can take someone on a walking tour of your city and show them the little-known secrets only a local could find or teach anything from how to make your own sushi to salsa-dancing. Are you an ace at roasting coffee or throwing pottery? Now you can offer it as an experience on AirBnB. You design an experience, list it on the AirBnB Experience page and pay a booking fee of 20% (last I checked.) You’ll have the exposure of a world-wide audience.

I knew about Verlocal but hadn’t thought of it as a way to get the word out about your art or classes or experiences you might offer. It is only in select cities so far. You can set up a class or event and list it on Verlocal. You choose your own pricing. When transactions are made for classes, Verlocal simply takes 15% of the amount listed. You can integrate their booking tool on your own website or if you don’t have a site, you can use your Verlocal profile page as your personal site.

Both Verlocal and AirBnB Experience are great ways to dip into the teaching pool or expand your offerings to a wider audience without having to do the marketing ourself. Can you think of something you’d like to get paid to share?

For more ideas on how to begin teaching or facilitating in the arts, check out the Inspiring Teachers course where 30 of the most sought-after creative teachers share their experience and wisdom running retreats in beautiful places around the world or teaching in their own home studios both in person and online. Find out more HERE 

Why would you want to teach your craft online or at art retreats and workshops?


As the guest teachers have shared in the Inspiring Teachers series, there are so many reasons to teach your art or craft online or at artist retreats or workshops.


Share your gifts

Maybe you simply love to share your gifts, knowledge or skill or just enjoy being in the company of other creative people.


Fund Your Travel

You might plan art or writing retreats in spots you love to visit or teach as a way to fund your travel. 


Work From Home

Or, teaching online from your home studio may be the ticket to expanding your income while enabling you to stay home with your kids or pets.



You always hear “no one teaches for the money” and it’s true that most teachers choose that profession because they have a passion for education but let’s be honest here: money is a valid reason to teach. OR at least to add teaching to your income as an artist. In fact, one best-selling author and workshop facilitator says teaching is the majority of her income.

And several successful workshop teachers say that if they didn’t teach, they’d have to take a part time, non-art-related job to supplement their income so why not create a situation where you’re able to continue working in the arts as your extra income source?


The Aha-Moments

As the guest teachers have shared in the Inspiring Teachers series, there are so many reasons to teach your art or craft online or at artist retreats or workshops. One thing all of us who love to teach have in common is the pure joy when a student has that “aha-now I get it” moment.



Inspiration is another benefit to teaching. Sometimes new students may use a tool or material in a way it wasn’t intended but has beautiful results. You can learn a lot from a novice who isn’t afraid to experiment . Nearly every teacher in the Inspiring Teachers series said they learn from their students.



Student’s questions can often give you insight. The work that comes easily and naturally to you may seem more challenging to others and breaking your processes down for them helps you see it in a way you might not have viewed your work before. Doing in-person workshops can be a wonderful barometer for how your classes will work online because you can get feedback from students who are at your live workshops about anything you might need to be more clear on.



Teaching is a great way to build a community of artists to share ideas, resources and information about events, venues, techniques and materials. Students or workshop attendees will tell their friends about you and your work and ideally recommend your future classes, spread the word about your shows and help you get invited to teach at other people’s events.

Sell Your Own Art or Supplies

You can usually display and sell your own art either in your workshop or at the marketplaces of larger artist events.

You can also, at many venues, offer supplies, tools and materials for sale when you teach. You can make up kits to sell to workshop participants at in-person classes and events or participate in a website affiliate program for art supply companies. Some art supply companies actually have a sponsorship program for artists who teach because you’re representing their products by demonstrating how to use them.


If you’d love to create your own art retreats to support your travel or as an additional way of making income from your home, you can learn how 30 popular teachers have created a successful teaching business. You can register for the Inspiring Teachers Series HERE.


Get paid to travel the world with friends and sketch?

I know this sounds too good to be true but I’ve been having the most inspiring conversations with real people who make their living doing things like traveling to retreat centers and faciliatating workshops or taking a small group to Europe to sketch and go to wine tastings and take cooking classes. Really. (and most do NOT have teaching or art degrees. )

Some of the most sought after arts workshop teachers share how they get paid to travel the world, teach online from their home studios or create their own artist gatherings.

Whether working from home teaching online or in-person locally is your ideal livelihood or you also want to get paid to go to art retreats, you can learn how all these artists built a career doing what they love. FIND OUT HOW HERE


Thinking about teaching your craft?

  Do you see those artists or crafters posting photos of workshops they’re teaching in Paris or Hawaii and wonder how they got so lucky? If you envy artists who are holding virtual classes from their own studios, have you thought  “I’d love to do that but I wouldn’t know where to begin” or “I haven’t got the credentials to teach art”?

Well, it isn’t about luck OR credentials.

Have you ever attended one of those art retreat weekends where they bring many multimedia teachers together for a buffet of classes and thought you ‘d love to organize something like that but you don’t know how? Or wondered how those artists get those cool gigs?

Are you curious about how to share what you know and love but you’re not really sure if you’re “qualified” to teach or how you would go about organizing classes or how to get people to enroll in your workshops.

Since I was a child, I knew I wanted to teach but as an art education major, I realized I didn’t want to teach in a school setting but I didn’t realize then that there were so many other options for teaching.

Besides getting to hang out with creative, like-minded people, one benefit artists gain from teaching workshops is the added income. If you want to make more than you earn from selling your art, facilitating classes sure beats a job-job to supplement your bankroll.

But money isn’t the only reason to teach.
Facilitating classes expands your exposure in the art community, gives you the opportunity to show (and sell) more of your own work and can bring you invitations to teach at other events and participate in open studios.

One of the best ways I know to get to take lots of courses is to bring artists together to create your own gatherings or retreats and it isn’t really difficult to do.  Find out how you can learn from some of the most brilliant and in-demand teachers in the arts HERE.   The Inspiring Teachers Course is now open for registration. Find out more HERE 

How to Sell Handmade Jewelry and Crafts for Valentine’s Day

For the next week, you have the perfect opportunity to sell your handmade jewelry and crafts for Valentine’s Day.  Even if you’re snowed in, just pick up the phone and set up some trunk shows at galleries, men’s salons, health clubs, office buildings or all of the above. Do you have any idea how many people would love to have your help in choosing a piece of hand crafted jewelry or a silk scarf for their wives or girlfriends rather than have to scour shops trying to figure out what the women in their lives would like?  Whether you need to generate cash to pay off your holiday credit card bills or turn your crafts into cash so that you can go to the Gem Shows and buy more supplies, right now, today is the time to make those calls. After a successful sale, you’ll have an open invitation to return for Mother’s Day.

How can you get guys to buy your handmade creations for Valentine’s Day

IMG_1853  Some of my male friends, relatives and readers may deny this, but let’s face it, most men don’t shop early. My husband used to say things like “it’s more exciting right before (insert holiday) when everyone’s in the spirit” or, “I’m still trying to come up with the perfect gift”. Sorry to stereotype but truth is, many guys don’t know where to begin and need guidance (and a little nudge.)

As an artist or crafter with inventory,  you can take advantage of their procrastination and need for gentle “peer pressure” by holding a “Guys’ Night Out” just before Valentine’s Day and it’s still 2 weeks out so you are still in time to schedule some dates.

Whether you make wearable, household, or garden art, some men need guidance in getting gifts for their wives, girlfriends and mothers. They also spend way more money when they are in groups because they don’t want to look cheap in front of the other guys. (especially if these guys are hubbies or boyfriends of their wife’s friends. )

So, invite your friends’ partners, your partner’s friends, the guys from your day job-(and if you still have a day job, you really do need these hints) and “help” them choose a gift for the women in their  lives. They’ll particularly love if you know what styles, colors, etc their partner likes. If you  don’t have lots of male buddies, another great venue is any venue where men gather. An upscale barber shop or men’s spa is always a great place and remember they will be glad to have you.

Are you wondering how you will entice the men to come?  Partner with a caterer, winery or brewery to do a tasting.  Craft breweries and vintners love to do tastings and pourings at upscale events to promote their beer or wines. In fact, they’ll often be thrilled if you hold the event at their tasting room. Didn’t your mother always tell you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?

Well, it’s also a great way to get the wallet out of the pocket, cash into your hands, and your creations out into the world.

For more great ideas like this, check out   “21 Ways to Turn Your Craft into a Cash Cow”  at the right of this page >


Why would you go to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show if you don’t make jewelry?

 On the way to my annual winter writing retreat this week, I passed a sign reading “Gem Show” with an arrow to a local hotel. I was reminded that today begins the two-week long Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

Started in someone’s garage 63 years ago, the event has grown to nearly 50-venues and brings 55,000 people to Tucson. I’ve read reports stating that during those two weeks, an extra $120 million is spent in the city.

It’s NOT just for rock collectors and jewelers anymore. In fact, in addition to every imaginable gem, mineral, crystal and jewelry-making tool and equipment, there is African Art, Native American Handcrafts, food trucks and items completely unrelated to gems and minerals.

Vendors sell everything from cheap junk to a tiara made with more than 1,000 diamonds. I’m told that one year, the show included a multi-million dollar uncut diamond.

There are also vendors of fibers, fabrics and vintage or handcrafted buttons. I think they are smart to show in an industry other than their own. Someone who hand knits wearables, for example, might also be shopping at the show for fancy buttons.

As a creative business coach, I aways look for overlaps and how one industry can compliment another. Noticing what makes you different and how other industries would be interested in what you have to offer helps you stand out in a crowded field.

One year, on a flight back to California from the Tucson Gem show, I sat next to an interior designer who was heading home from a furniture trade show. Because I’d been in the home furnishings industry years ago, I was interested to hear about what she saw at the market. As she talked about trends in lamps, fabrics and flooring, I thought about how someone in her business would be smart to attend a gem show and make connections with providers of architectural size rocks and minerals. An upscale designer could do well if she had a source for large, decorative accent pieces and what’s more one-of-a-kind than a giant rock?
I always ask clients “who else already has your audience?” When you’re trying to figure out where to sell your products or services, you and someone with a complimentary (not competing) business can connect each other with the ideal clients.

When you’re out and about, seeing new places and meeting people, always ask yourself, how can what i do compliment this person or place. You’ll be delighted with the possibilities.

Here are 3 more reasons you should go to a gem and mineral show even if you don’t make jewelry or collect rocks.

Why your Art Needs a Story

As an artist, making each piece by hand, do you worry about competing with knock-offs made by children in China? Even if your designs are trademarked and copyrighted,  you likely can’t afford the lost time or emotional reserves to fight these mass manufacturers.  I’ve watched it happen to so many artists and I know it’s a struggle to stay ahead of the copy-cats. So, what can you do about it? How can you differentiate your work from the inexpensive look-a-likes? Well, the best way I know is to make sure that shoppers know the difference so that they appreciate the value of your work and understand why it commands a higher price tag. Otherwise, they are not going to pay $279. for a piece that looks just like what they’ve seen in the Target or Walmart. And the one element that makes your work worth paying more for is the YOUness. If your work doesn’t have a story, your customer can’t understand the value and there is no way they are going to pay more for something that looks just like the cheaper one. Now, more than ever, your art needs a story.  Annette Simmons, author of The Story Factor,  said  “in today’s world almost anyone you want to influence is operating under a deficit of human attention.”  They are drowning in facts, information and  statistics. They need a story they can relate to.  Most people don’t remember facts and figures. They do remember stories. As an artist, you need a story too. If you’re showing your work at a juried craft show, chances are the attendees  understand the value of your work. In that case, just being personable and explaining a bit about your process, inspiration, etc will help reinforce the old know-like-trust factor. They’ll be loyal fans because they know your face and like you. However, if you exhibit at an un-juried show, it’s likely that some vendors have slipped imports into the mix and you’ll have to work harder to make sure the customers know you.. Knowing your “story”, where you came from and how you got where you are now, adds that human element and makes your work worth the higher price. If your art is represented in a gallery, you may Continue reading