Category Archives: Indie Business

7 Inspiring Podcasts for Indie Business Owners & Future Entrepreneurs

I love to listen to inspiring podcasts while I work in the Janery studio. Designing new products and patterns is exciting, but production sewing is repetitive.   I used to watch TV shows and movies, but I have found that they can be distracting, and they aren’t that inspiring – except for the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

7 Inspiring Podcasts for Indie Biz Owners Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Once I switched to podcasts I became much more efficient in the studio, learning and being inspired even when I was tired and just wanted to go to bed. Over the last year I’ve found a good collection of inspiring podcasts for creative business owners – or aspiring entrepreneurs.  Here are my 7 favorite inspiring podcasts for indie biz owners and inspiring entrepreneurs:

Being Boss –Kathleen Shannon runs a killer branding company, and she and her podcasting partner Emily are rocking this. I started this last week and I am hooked! I recommend starting at the beginning and listening in order.

Brilliant Business Moms – A podcast about business, run by entrepreneur moms? Sign me up! You don’t have to be a mom, though, to appreciate the topics covered. Favorite episodes include interviews with my friend Katie Clemons from Gadanke (episode 33) and discussions on Kickstarter / an ethical clothing line with Hayley Morgan of Wildly Co. (episode 35)

Elise Gets Crafty – Elise and her podcast are what got me hooked on podcasts while I work. I’m pretty sure that everyone in the handmade business arena is already listening to Elise’s podcast, but it needs to be listed. She’s hosted a variety of guests and hers is the podcast that keeps me extra inspired when I’m working.

From Scratch – Interviews with people from all industries who grew companies “from scratch.” Some have interested me more than others, but it’s interesting to learn from people outside the “indie biz” niche. Favorite episodes include one with the founder of Etsy (episode 4), and the inventor of the Coravin wine preserver, (episode 10).

Thriving Launch – This is new to me, but I could have used this several years ago! I can’t recommend favorite episodes yet, because I’ve only heard the first few, but I think it’s worth a shot.

The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast – My friend and neighbor Sarah tackles the issue of perfectionism in her podcast about living a B+ life. She hosts a wide variety of guests; some of my favorite business-related ones are Kyla Roma (episodes 18 and 62) and Michelle Ward (episode 55).

UnPodcast – I’ve been a fan of Scott Stratten’s ever since he spoke about marketing at the first Blissdom conference I attended. His no BS approach and humor rocks my world as he reminds us that sincerity and common sense are the keys to good social media marketing.

If you have other favorites, I hope you’ll share in the comments!


Janery Update: Overcoming the “perfection procrastination”

It may come as no surprise to my regular readers that my handmade pet bed & pillow business, Janery, took a backseat in my life last year. Sales were lower than even my first year, and I didn’t reach my goals of launching Charlie Cushions or my new e-commerce website.   Family came first, and I don’t regret that.

I actually started to launch my Charlie Cushion dog beds in the fall, but in the process I found I’d made some mistakes with them that could only be fixed by ripping out all the seams and starting over. It was an important lesson in measure twice, cut once!

Janery Charlie Cushion Seam Ripper

There’s been more bumps in the road to launching these waterproof dog beds, but the whole story is a topic for a separate post.

Janery Charlie Cushion Progress Notes

The launch of the new Janery website has also been challenging. I’m struggling with a quest for perfection in the website; a quest which I have now realized has kept me from making enough progress. I told myself I wouldn’t launch it until I had a perfect product line, had launched the Charlie Cushions, and had all new branding and perfect product photos, and the list goes on.

The reason? About two years ago I got the idea in my head that I couldn’t advertise or promote my handmade business until it looked more professional. However, in my first two years, I advertised and promoted my business and had the sales to show it. My photos and back then? Completely amateur and embarrassing.

Oh, the irony.

My blogging friend and neighbor, Sarah, has a great podcast about exactly this type of challenge. The Sarah R. Bagley podcast is focused on “a recovering perfectionist’s guide to a B+ life” – and boy, is that just the kind of advice I need to get Janery to the next step.

While I will always strive to create A+ products at Janery, right now I need to be a little more accepting of a B+ backend to the business if I want to take steps towards growing it.

Janery New Website Draft Screenshot

With this in mind, I’ve been busily uploading my best product photos to the new website, and working with my graphic designer to get all the elements in place for a late April launch date. Once the site is live and the Charlie Cushions are really launched, I’ll go about upgrading the site to A+, one step at a time.

Indie Business: Designing a Shop & Blog Website

A lot of the behind-the-scenes work of rebranding a business and designing and launching a new website is busy but unexciting.  One of the biggest tasks has been the physical design of the new Janery website, which will include both my shop and my blog. Etsy has been a great starting point for me, but migrating to my own shop site will help me take things to the next level.

So, how do you design a website from scratch?

Fortunately I’ve had practice in this at my day job, where I used to create internal websites for different teams.

Make a list of all the content you think you want to include. Next, figure out what types of pages the content will be organized onto.  Finally, you sketch out how you want each page to look. I use pencil and paper, and it’s easy to erase and adjust as I go.

That’s what I did for the Janery site – below are all the pages I sketched out, and then taped to my wall to live with for a few days, seeing if I wanted to make changes.
Paper Website Mockup

Designing the Janery Website Layout
After I was pretty sure of the layout I was going for, I re-created the site sketches using Powerpoint.  I used my old logo and random images I had on hand, so it doesn’t look pretty.  But what it does do is give my graphic designer an idea of the layout we’re working with.  And it gives the web developer an idea of what I want when I say to him “this page isn’t looking like it should!”

Designing Website Layout in Powerpoint.jpg
After I created the site mockup, I reviewed each page to figure out what copy, or text, I would need for it.  I made that list in a word document, and started writing.

I’m finalizing the website copy now, which is a little easier said than done it turns out.  I really struggled with writing the “About” page – it was hard for me to share my story without rambling too much!

If you’re trying to design a website for your blog or handmade business, but don’t know where to start, I recommend trying this method. Let me know if you have any questions! 

My First Podcast: Living a B+ Life

Today I’m a guest on the Sarah R Bagley podcast where I’m chatting with Sarah about perfection.  It was so much fun to do my first podcast ever with her, since she’s also my friend and neighbor!  I have to admit that I’m envious of her perfectionist spirit in regards to blogging and writing. It’s what keeps her blogging on a perfect schedule, whereas my carefree approach means that I never keep a good schedule. :)

Sarah Bagley Podcast B+ Life

A few items of note:

  • If I sound stiff and boring for the first few minutes, it’s because I AM.  Just kidding – I was just nervous and had to get warmed up.
  • I was a slob in college, and I admit it.
  • I mention an embarrassing fall wreath project in my early days of blogging.  Here it is. Maybe it’s not so bad after all.
  • I explain (sort of) why the basement has never finished being decorated.
  • I tell the whole horrific story of The Watermelon Living Room at the old condo.
  • I explain how perfection definitely applies to the products I make for Janery.  I ramble a lot at this point.  (Sorry, Sarah!)
  • Finally, I’m on a quest to get Sarah to relax in her perfectionist approach to DIY.  :) We’ll see how that goes this year!